Gorleston gas explosion leads to conviction of Belton builder

The scene of the gas explosion on Fredrick Road in Gorleston nearly 24 hours after it happened.
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The scene of the gas explosion on Fredrick Road in Gorleston nearly 24 hours after it happened. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2015

A self-employed builder has admitted a health and safety breach which caused a gas explosion at a Gorleston home which left a woman with serious burns and caused part of the house to collapse.

David Guymer, 52, of Orwell Crescent, Belton, dislodged a gas pipe when he fitted an electric cooker beneath a gas hob in March 2015 causing a gas leak which led to a wall being blown out of the kitchen on Fredrick Road.

The woman suffered serious burns to her face, and body and also damage to her hand and had to spend seven weeks in hospital, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Another male tenant suffered less severe burns to his arms and hands. A third person escaped the blast with no injuries

After pleading guilty to a gas safety offence Judge Maureen Bacon ordered Guymer to do a 300 hours community order and pay costs of £54,814.


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Judge Bacon said the injuries had been devastating to the victim, adding: 'She had been set on fire from her head to waist.'

She said the victim had been left with scars and suffered from post traumatic stress and damage to her hand.

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Judge Bacon said the victim was taken to James Paget University Hospital and then transferred to a specialist burns unit in Chelmsford and had to spend seven weeks in hospital.

She added: 'When she came out she was homeless.' The victim still needs the help of carers.

Judge Bacon said: 'The trauma continues two and half years after this explosion occurred because you failed to take reasonable care.'

She accepted Guymer was a man of good character and had worked many years in the building trade without any failures.

Matthew Gowen, for Guymer, said he had worked in the building trade for more than 30 years and had a good previous health and safety record.

Health and Safety Executive inspector, Andrew Brookes, said after the hearing: 'David Guymer's negligence almost lead to the death of three people and resulted in the destruction of a house.

'Tradesmen need to be particularly diligent when working around gas fittings to avoid endangering members of the public that may be harmed by their carelessness.'

The home is now up for auction.

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