Page last updated at 16:21 GMT, Wednesday, 21 May 2008 17:21 UK

Builder is jailed for gas death

David Johnson
Prosecutors said Johnson had been 'grossly negligent'

A builder whose work caused the death of a man through carbon monoxide poisoning has been jailed for three and a half years.

Mechanic Robert Schenker, 31, was found dead at his home in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, in March 2006.

Three days earlier builder David Johnson, 56, had started reconstructing a chimney, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Johnson, who lives on a boat in Ipswich, Suffolk, was convicted of manslaughter after a trial in April.

The court heard Mr Schenker needed some work carried out on his chimney and called in Johnson.

After it was completed, Mr Schenker telephoned the builder and asked if he could turn his boiler back on and was told he could, the court heard.

Johnson had allowed mortar to drop and drip into the chimney, which was connected to the flue pipe on Mr Schenker's kitchen boiler, prosecutor Deanna Herr said.

Victim Robert Schenker
Robert Schenker was found dead at his Peterborough home

The mortar solidified and blocked the chimney, preventing carbon monoxide from escaping into the atmosphere, she said.

The poisonous gas leaked into Mr Schenker's home and killed him, jurors were told.

Mr Schenker, who ran a business selling spare parts for Porsche cars, was found dead in bed in March 2006 - three days after Johnson started work, jurors heard.

The prosecution said Johnson had been "grossly negligent".

Alastair Malcolm, QC, defending, said there was no evidence Johnson was a "cowboy builder" but added his work had fallen "below his usual standards" on this occasion.

Passing sentence Judge Peter Jacobs said: "You deliberately and knowingly exposed someone to a high likelihood of death through carbon monoxide poisoning."

Builder found guilty of gas death
10 Apr 08 |  Cambridgeshire
Builder denies poison gas killing
26 Mar 08 |  Cambridgeshire

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