Guilty verdict returned in Windermere boat deaths trial
Motorboat & Yachting: The trial of Matthew Eteson has come to an end with the jury finding him guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence in connection to two deaths on Windermere.
A qualified gas fitter who modified his boat’s generator has been found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence.
Matthew Eteson, 42 from Hale, Cheshire, appeared in Preston Crown Court as part of the two-and-a-half week Windermere boat deaths trial, but declined to give evidence due to his “mental condition”.
After the jury returned their unanimous verdict on Monday (November 26), the court was adjourned until November 13, when Mr Eteson will be sentenced.
The boatowner was holidaying in the Lake District with his partner Kelly Webster, 36, and her daughter Lauren Thornton, 10, over the Easter Bank holiday weekend in April 2013.
The group returned to their Bayliner 285 (pictured above) following a fish and chip lunch to take a nap and were poisoned by carbon monoxide fumes after Mr Eteson’s modified generator failed.
The court heard that he had soldered an “elbow joint” to fit a silencer to the generator’s copper exhaust pipe, but this failed when the system heated up.
Gas permeated the boat’s bulkhead and filled the aft cabin where Lauren and Kelly were sleeping, and the emergency services were unable to resuscitate them. Matthew was able to escape as he was sleeping in the forecabin.
The court also heard how the boat was moored on a swinging mooring and as such was unable to power its heating system from 240V mains electrics.