Case Study - Gas Certificates


The importance of regular checking and maintenance of gas appliances is highlighted by the tragic case of Elisabeth Giauque, who died in February 2005 from carbon monoxide poisoning in a rented property aged only 6.


Prosecuted on 23/05/08 for failure to maintain a gas boiler in a safe condition and failure to order a safety certificate under Health and Safety legislation, the director of the property company responsible for the property – Hussein Jajbhay, 50, was fined £20000 and ordered to pay £35000 in legal costs.


The Health and Safety Executive took Jajbhay to court.


At the time of moving into the property in Wimbledon with his family, Nicolas Giauque, a French company director was shown a valid gas certificate issued within the previous year, however the inquest into Elisabeth’s death revealed that the boiler was not checked again during their 18 month residency.


Carbon monoxide from the faulty boiler filtered its way through the property to Elisabeth’s bedroom, located above the boiler room and she was found unconscious. Elisabeth died 2 days after being admitted to St George’s hospital in Tooting.


Originally diagnosed with meningitis, doctors only suspected carbon monoxide poisoning after other family members staying in the room began feeling unwell. The post mortem confirmed that Elisabeth had over 20 times the normal level of carbon monoxide in her bloodstream.


The landlord was ultimately responsible for the maintenance of the faulty boiler that caused Elisabeth’s death, and Bill Hazleton, inspector for the HSE said:

"This emphasises the importance of maintaining and checking gas appliances. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and landlords have a duty to maintain their gas appliances."