Source of below article: http://www.residentiallandlord.co.uk/news1950.html
A faulty 30 year old electric radiator contributed to a mother of two being electrocuted while taking a bath in her rented accommodation in Cornwall.
The property’s landlord, Hilary Thompson, aged 82, of Portscatho, was fined £5,000, the maximum for a single charge in a magistrate’s court, and ordered her to pay £1,182 costs, following her trial at Camborne Magistrates Court last week.
The magistrates were told that Mrs Thompson originally rented out Pettigrew Cottage on the Roseland peninsula as a holiday let after inheriting the property, but had later decided to rent it to the Whittall family on shorthold tenancy in March last year.
A few days after Thirza Whittall moved in with her husband and two young children she went to take a bath but tragically died when she was electrocuted after touching the taps.
During the prosecution Emma Northey, from the trading standards department, described how there was an electric, oil-filled radiator in the bathroom with the plug being run from a socket in the kitchen.
An investigation after the tragedy revealed that the radiator was more than 30 years old, had a damaged flex, and was fitted with a 13 amp rather than a three amp fuse.
A fault occurred was when the flex was pulled tight allowing the electrical current to make a connection with the water pipes and the bath taps became live. Northey further explained that although the heater faults alone would not have caused serious injury, there were other faults such as a lack of earth bonding on the water pipes.
This meant when Mrs Whittall went to use the taps while in the bath she completed the circuit and was electrocuted.
The court also heard in Thompson’s defence that she had asked a local electrician to check the house before the Whittalls moved in, but he had not had the opportunity because he had been too busy. Plus, the radiator had originally been in another part of the property and was not intended for use in the bathroom.
The magistrates were asked to take into consideration Mrs Thompson’s age, previous good conduct, role in the community, and the fact that she pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.