High Court agrees for fresh inquest into the deaths of two men from carbon monoxide poisoning

The High Court has today agreed that a new inquest into the deaths of two men who died from carbon monoxide poisoning should take place.

Today’s decision follows the agreement of the Attorney General, in August 2015, for the families of the two men to make an application to have the original inquest quashed and for a fresh inquest into their deaths to be heard.

Richard Smith, 30, and Kevin Branton, 32 died in November 2010. At the original inquest in December 2012 a jury returned verdicts of accidental death.

They had heard at that inquest from a Health and Safety Executive representative that cooker grills should not be operated with the door closed as that limited oxygen and could cause carbon monoxide to be produced.

At today's hearing before Mr Justice Ouseley and Chief Coroner Peter Thornton QC, the barrister for the families of the men, Robert Harland, said that new evidence which had come to light since the verdict made it necessary or desirable that another inquest should be held.

Mr Justice Ouseley ordered that a fresh inquest be heard on the basis that “it was both desirable and necessary in the interests of justice.”

Thomas Jervis, lawyer in the Consumer Law and Product Safety team at Leigh Day, who is representing the parents of Mr Smith and Mr Branton, said:

“The families of Richard and Kevin are really pleased that there will now be a new inquest into how their sons died in these circumstances.

Denise Branton, 59, the mother of Kevin Branton said: “We are really pleased with this outcome and feel it is another small step towards finding out the truth about what was known before our boys died.” Devon and Cornwall police said it had also been investigating the deaths.