A grieving granddad has finally spoken out about about the devastating loss of his daughter and granddaughter who died of carbon monoxide poisoning on a boat.
Alan Webster, 64, and his family were heartbroken when daughter Kelly, 36, and her little girl Lauren Thornton, 10, succumbed to fumes as they slept on a boat in April 2013.
Last year, Kelly’s partner Matthew Eteson, a Gas Safe registered engineer, was later found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence, after a court heard he had fitted a petrol generator that failed.
For his mistake, Eteson was slapped with a suspended sentence.
Broken Alan said: “We miss them so much. Our house is littered with pictures.
“We keep going for our grandson, who’s 14, and granddaughter, eight. But we’ll never be able to move on.
“It’s a case of having to get on with it.
“We spend a lot of time tending the graves of our daughter and granddaughter.
“We still don’t have all of their belongings back nearly four years later.”
Tragically, sports mad Lauren died just days before her 11th birthday.
Pouring over precious pictures of Lauren and her mum, Alan explained: “These pictures just show exactly how they were, very bubbly, so loving with each other and very close.
“Lauren was enthusiastic about everything, the first to put her hand up in class. She loved horse riding and netball.
“Kelly was an absolutely brilliant daughter. She was a Daddy’s girl, she even bought me a settee for my 60th. She was so big hearted.”
Alan and his beloved wife of 39-years, Nia, live together in Leyland, Lancs., and he can still recall to moment their lives were turned upside down – when police knocked on their door on the evening of Easter Monday, 2013.
Not only did Alan have to deal with the unimaginable loss of his daughter and granddaughter, but he also had the court case to get through.
Gas fitter Eteson, 42 – whom the family had known for six years – was handed a suspended sentence after being found guilty of their manslaughter.
Preston Crown Court, Lancs., heard he had soldered an exhaust system to a petrol-powered generator which failed, causing the deadly fumes to leak into the boat cabin as the family holidayed at Lake Windermere, Cumbria.
Jurors found that although Eteson did not intend to cause their deaths, Kelly and Lauren lost their lives because of his gross negligence, and found him criminally responsible.
He was given a two-year sentence, suspended for two years,
During the trial, the court heard from Howard Reed, an expert with 45 years of experience in the gas and ventilation industry.
He told the court that the standard of work carried out by Eteson was of such a low standard that failure was “inevitable”.
Mr Reed said: “It was not a case of if it happens but when it happens.”
Alan was prompted to speak publicly after learning a Lancashire farmer who marketed inferior eggs as free range was handed a heftier sentence than Eteson – the man responsible for his daughter and granddaughter’s deaths.
Heartbroken Alan said: “I read about the farmer’s sentence and thought justice is disgusting in this country.
“It doesn’t bear thinking about – there is no comparison in a man killing two people and a man committing a free range egg fraud.”
He added: “Despite his conviction he (Eteson) can still go into people’s homes, hotels and pubs and carry on working as a gas fitter.
“He is allowed to work on gas safe appliances.”