Attorney General allows families to apply to the High Court to quash original inquest into deaths of two men linked to carbon monoxide poisoning

The lawyer for two families of men who died from carbon monoxide poisoning has welcomed the decision of the Attorney General to grant permission for the families to make an application to the High Court to have an original inquest quashed and for a fresh inquest to be heard.

Thomas Jervis, lawyer in the Consumer Law and Product Safety team at Leigh Day, is representing the families of Richard Smith, 30, and Kevin Branton, 32 who died in November 2010 from carbon monoxide poisoning thought to be caused by their Beko cooker.

In their request to the Attorney General, the families of the men raised questions about the timing of the recall of certain gas cookers.

Thomas Jervis, lawyer in the Consumer Law and Product Safety team at Leigh Day, said:

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

“They are very grateful to the Attorney General for hearing their plea, and will be making their application, which could be of massive public interest, to the High Court as soon as possible.”

Denise Branton, 59, the mother of Kevin Branton, told the Sunday Times:

“It is a bit like David and Goliath, fighting Beko, but we feel we are getting somewhere.” Devon and Cornwall police said it had also been investigating the deaths, stating:

“Police are investigating to establish if there is a reasonable suspicion that these deaths are linked to criminal offences, however, this remains ongoing with no current timescale for completion.”

A Beko spokesman said: “We entirely respect the attorney-general’s decision and will continue to co-operate fully with the proceedings.”

The company said that it deeply regrets the incidents involving its appliances, but does not consider there was any unnecessary delay in the recall of the appliance in this case.