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INQUEST INTO CHILD DEATH

Four-year-old boy died after a mantelpiece collapsed

A Coroners court jury has recorded a narrative verdict following inquiry into the death of Matthew Green who died from chest injuries after a 50kg stone mantelpiece fell on him at his home in Northamptonshire. The jury said the mantelpiece became detached because of a failure to apply sufficient fixings.The coroner report added that “The lack of national industry standards and regulation for the fitting of fire surrounds, including training, installation, quality inspection, secondary review and audit paper trails, were also a contributory factor”. 

David and Gail Green purchased the house from Persimmon Homes in 2003. Mr Green reported hearing a “loud crash” from the living room and found his son under the stone mantel. Experts told the inquest that there was “insufficient” mortar built into the mantelpiece to keep it together and no additional screws or metal dowels. This was not the first incident of this kind.

A Persimmon spokesman said “It is group-wide policy to obtain appropriate health and safety assessments for all sub-contractors and we expect they carry out their duties in accordance with current regulations and industry standards. Sadly there have never been any such regulations or industry standards in relation to fireplace installation.”

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