A man who killed a two-year-old boy when he blew up his house has been jailed.
Andrew Partington (17/10/1984), formerly of Buckley Street, Shaw, admitted manslaughter and causing criminal damage (in excess of £1m).
At Manchester Crown Court today, Tuesday 19 February 2013, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison with a further five on licence.
Partington spent the afternoon/evening of Monday 25 June 2012, drinking. As the hours wore on he became more abusive to his girlfriend, who ultimately left the address with her five children, two of which are also his.
He returned home and found the house empty. At some point he cut through the main gas supply hose where it entered the house. He also cut a gas pipe in the void below the bath. The house subsequently slowly filled with gas.
When he was unable to contact his girlfriend on the phone he sent her a series of messages:
At 11.07pm: "So I gess I got yo show u then wot u. Meent to me never cheated on u all ways loved u get f****d naw good buy" (So I guess I have got to show you then what you meant to me. Never cheated on you, always loved you, get f****d, now goodbye)
At 11.31pm: "Told u next time u live me house go. Whith me u left your kids whith no dad no home good bye boom gas pipe cut allredy fild up boom told. U last time tell jur and aj I loved them but mum was a. Bich" (Told you next time you leave me, house goes up with me. You left your kids with no Dad, no home, goodbye, boom, gas pipe cut, already filled up, boom. Told you last time, tell Junior and AJ I loved them, but Mum was a bitch)
At 11.37pm: "See if u loved me but u don't good buy" (See, if you loved me, but you don't, goodbye)
At 12.37am (to his girlfriend's brother): "Tell jur and aj I loved them" (Tell Junior and AJ, I loved them)
At about 11.15am on Tuesday 26 June 2012, Partington ignited the gas that had been filling the house (number 9).
At the same time, his neighbour at number 11, Michelle Heaton, was in the garden and in the process of hanging washing on the line. Her son, two-year-old Jamie, was inside watching Peppa Pig, one of his favourite television programmes.
The explosion destroyed numbers 7, 9 and 11 and caused significant structural damage to dozens more properties.
A number of GMP officers were in the area and heard the explosion. Within moments they were on the scene.
They assisted Michelle, who was frantic with worry, and courageously entered her house, which had been reduced to rubble, to search for Jamie. They also conducted initial searches of other houses.
Tragically Jamie was found dead inside.
Other emergency services arrived, including Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, the North West Ambulance Service and National Grid and a mass evacuation was initiated.
Partington was rescued from his house and taken by air ambulance to Wythenshawe hospital for treatment to 40% burns to his body and a broken back.
In a statement from Jamie's parents, Michelle and Kenny Heaton, they said: "On 26th June last year our lives were torn apart, as were those of our families and neighbours. Our dear son Jamie was killed in an explosion which occurred at our next door neighbour's house.
"When we heard the tragic news that no parent would ever expect to hear, we wanted to believe there was a reasonable explanation for what happened. As time went by and after extensive enquiries we have learned that the explosion was caused by a selfish and deliberate criminal act. The fact that the act was deliberate and totally avoidable has made the grieving ever harder to manage.
"Jamie was nearly two and a half years old. He was a beautiful, healthy and loving little boy who was full of life. He had his whole future ahead of him. Like children of that age he was full of adventure and mischief and above all he was great fun. He was intelligent and constantly trying to outwit us both as he worked on his next scheme to find his crayons to redecorate the walls.
"Jamie idolised his brother and sister, Jack and Jodie and they played so nicely together. They played hide and seek and were constantly wrestling. We often wondered what the future would hold for Jamie and his achievements, his Great Grandma said he was a 'Genius'. Unfortunately we will never find out.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank the public, the local authority and the many organisations who have supported us through this difficult time. Our thoughts are with the many people of Shaw who have also lost their homes. The people and businesses of Shaw and wider afield showed real community spirit as they pulled together during a very difficult time. The support was and continues to be overwhelming.
"We would like to thank those members of the emergency services for their efforts after the explosion and for their painstaking investigation into the cause. As a result of a thorough investigation, today Andrew Partington was jailed. No sentence imposed would ever bring Jamie back nor would it ever give us satisfaction. We respect that the sentence imposed is in accordance with the guidance laid down and based on a number of considerations.
"In the last week we have faced what would have been Jamie's third birthday, before that we faced Christmas without him. We take every day as it comes and focus on the future. Jamie's memory is a big part of the future.
"We would like to make a special mention of the charity that we set up in Jamie's memory.
"JAMIE'S SOMETHING SPECIAL' (http://www.jamiessomethingspecial.co.uk/) is dedicated to raising funds to provide children's play equipment. Primarily the equipment will be installed at Bullcote Park in Heyside, Oldham, the park where Jamie took his first steps. The fund will also aim to benefit children in the local area with Autism."
Detective Chief Inspector Pete Marsh, said: "First and foremost my thoughts and sympathies remain with Jamie's parents, who have been a beacon of strength and dignity at this most distressing time.
"Andrew Partington is a bully who systematically verbally and physically abused his partner. When she found the strength to take herself and her children away from him, he spiralled out of control and committed an egregious act of spite that cost an innocent and much loved young boy his life.
"Tragically what compounds this tragedy for Jamie's mother and father is that this selfish and reckless act was completely avoidable.
"The scene of devastation was one not out of place in a war zone and it is sheer luck that no one else was killed or seriously injured.
"Jamie was only at home that day because he was unwell. Kenny and Michelle will fell that fate conspired against them in the most appalling way that day but I hope they feel a sense of justice now Partington has been held accountable.
"I also hope the local Shaw community feels some sense of justice today as they too continue to reel from what happened."
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood, said: "As I said at the time, being Oldham born and bred, I remain personally saddened by this incident, which claimed the life of an innocent young boy, and my thoughts are with those closest to him at this time.
"What we saw after this devastating incident were the people of Shaw and the wider Greater Manchester area coming together as one.
"There was an overwhelming response from the local community and businesses, all of whom showed great strength in adversity. That is something that I took and continue to take heart from.
"As the community continues to rebuild I know this cohesion will remain and residents will continue to support one another.
"I also want to put on record my gratitude to the responding officers who were on the scene within minutes.
"They raced into a crumbling wreck in a selfless search and rescue effort, putting the lives of the local residents above their own.
"I also want to publically commend the exemplary bravery and professionalism on display from members of GMFRS who in the immediate aftermath and in the following hours and days conducted a thorough and extensive search and rescue effort in what were extremely treacherous conditions.
"It is just yet another example of the lengths emergency services will go to in order to serve and protect the public."