Murder inquiry after gas explosion

Wed, Jun 27, 2012, 01:00

Police investigating the suspicious death of a child in the Oldham gas blast in northern England may be dealing with a murder inquiry.

Jamie Heaton, aged two, died when a massive explosion tore through his home and that of a neighbour on Buckley Street in the Shaw area of Oldham yesterday morning.

The toddler, described by his heartbroken family as a, “happy loving little boy” and “full of laughter” was killed as he watched TV in the front room of the family’s terraced house.

His mother Michelle survived the carnage after she momentarily stepped into the yard to hang out washing to dry.

Her husband Kenny and two other children, Jodie and Jack, were not at home and spared serious injury.

In tribute, the victim’s family said: “Jamie was a happy loving little boy - precious son to Michelle and Kenny and loving little brother to Jodie and Jack.

“Jamie’s life was full of laughter. He loved going to preschool, playing with sand and water and going to the park. He touched the hearts of all who knew him and will be missed by all.”

Jamie's neighbour, Andrew Partington (27), was airlifted to hospital with severe burns.

Police say they have “significant questions” for Mr Partington, who has officers waiting at his bedside for him to regain consciousness.

Sources confirmed a domestic argument involving the injured man took place in the hours before the blast, with his partner leaving their house with her five children.

Steve Heywood, Assistant Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, told a press conference in Shaw: “We have had some information to suggest it may not be accidental so we are treating it as a suspicious death and therefore a homicide investigation is undertaken.”

PA