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07th October 2010

Firm fined over landlord's death

A pub tenant landlord's life could have been saved if a national pub chain had followed gas safety regulations, a court has heard.

Enterprise Inns was fined £300,000 over the death of Paul Lee, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

A cleaner at the Aintree Hotel in Bootle found him unconscious hours after he had turned on a gas fire in his living room before falling asleep.

As he was being taken to hospital, the 41-year-old suffered a heart attack due to lack of oxygen. He died the following morning without regaining consciousness. He had been the tenant landlord at the pub for less than one month.

The company was prosecuted after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the fire may not have been serviced since 1979 and the chimney was completely blocked.

The West Midlands-based company, which owns around 7,700 pubs across the UK, admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The fine was imposed at Liverpool Crown Court.

Iain Evans, the investigating inspector at HSE, said: "What makes this case so tragic is that Mr Lee's life could have been saved if Enterprise Inns had continued to obey the written warning it received about gas safety six years earlier, instead of falling back into old habits."

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