Coroner links the carbon monoxide poisoning deaths of 11 people to faulty Beko cookers
- Five victims died in neighbouring Cornish towns within three years of each other
- Cornwall Trading Standards added at least six more died because of the defect
- Cooker grills should be operated without their door being completely closed
- However, the Beko cookers were faulty as they all came with a complete seal
The deaths of 11 people from carbon monoxide poisoning have been linked to faulty Beko cookers.
Five of the victims lived in neighbouring Cornish towns and died within three years of each other.
Maureen Cook, 47, Audrey Cook, 86, and Alfred, known as John, Cook, 90, died on February 23, 2013 in Camborne, Cornwall.
Previously, Kevin Branton, 32, and Richard Smith, 30, from Saltash, Cornwall, died on November 13, 2010, passing away after inhaling too much of the deadly gas.
Now, the deaths have been linked together by coroner Geraint Williams and a pre-inquest hearing in Truro, Cornwall, will be held later this month.
Gary Webster from Cornwall Trading Standards added that at least six other people had died as a result of the defect.
Alfred Cook, 90, who was also known to his friends as John, and his 86-year-old wife Audrey were two of the people killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from the faulty cooker
The Beko oven which caused the deaths. HSE engineer Steve Critchlow told the inquest that cooker grills should not be operated with the door closed as this limits oxygen and can cause carbon monoxide to be produced. But this model came with a complete seal
Richard and Kevin died at their property in Saltash, and an inquest in 2012 heard that their cooker produced high levels of carbon monoxide.
The Health and Safety Executive said the problem with the cooker was a ‘known’ manufacturing defect.
HSE engineer Steve Critchlow told the inquest that cooker grills should not be operated with the door closed as this limits oxygen and can cause carbon monoxide to be produced.
He added that some ovens have a safety cut-out, while others have an air gap around the door.
However, this model had a door fitted with a complete seal which was a manufacturer’s defect.
A jury returned verdicts of accidental death.
The families of the dead said their lives had been ended by ‘something as simple as shutting the grill door’ and urged people to check their cookers.
Beko said it attempted to contact more 21,000 customers to warn them of the fault, but nearly 7,000 had not been contacted.
Then, in 2013, John and Audrey Cook and their daughter Maureen died in a static caravan in Tremarle Home Park, Camborne.
Kevin Branton, 32, and Richard Smith, 30, from Saltash, Cornwall, died on November 13, 2010, passing away after inhaling too much of the deadly gas
It was reported after the incident that Devon and Cornwall Police had confirmed ‘that carbon monoxide poisoning had been established as the cause of death’.
A police spokesman said the source of the poisoning was ‘believed to be from incorrect operation of the gas cooker’.
Legal firm Leigh Day provided evidence to The Sunday Times that the cooker used by the Cooks was a Beko Flavel Aspen 50.
A witness told the newspaper she had seen the cooker in the caravan after their deaths.
As reported in 2014, Leigh Day represented the Cook family and the families of Richard Smith and Kevin Branton.
Beko said it attempted to contact more 21,000 customers to warn them of the fault with the oven, but nearly 7,000 had not been contacted
A spokesperson for The Cornwall Coroner said: ‘The Branton and Smith files have not yet been re-opened and they might not be.
‘It will be part of the decision of Mr Williams at the pre-inquest review as to whether he thinks they should be re-opened having already been heard.’
Watford-based appliance manufacturer Beko was fined £76,659 in 2014 after breaching product safety regulations.
The firm pleaded guilty to 23 charges of failing to notify authorities of potential safety risks.
The charges relate to 23 models of Beko’s gas cookers which could have created a serious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
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