Andrew Partington pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of toddler Jamie Heaton (GMP)
Andrew Partington pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of toddler Jamie Heaton (GMP)

A man who caused the death of a two-year-old boy after his actions triggered a gas explosion in Oldham has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Andrew Partington, 27, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of toddler Jamie Heaton in a gas blast at a house in Shaw, Oldham in June 2012.

The 27-year-old was also given a five-year sentence on licence.

Manchester Crown Curt heard how Partington drunkenly cut the pipes at his home and let the property fill up with gas after his girlfriend left him and took their children.

Partington sent a series of texts to his girlfriend after she had left. The court heard how one said: "Told you next time you leave, house goes up with me. You left your kids with no dad, no home. Goodbye. Boom. Gas pipes cut. Already filled up. Boom." 

The court heard how Partington cut off the gas supply but then opened all the windows to ventilate his home. He then lit a cigarette.

Partington also admitted to destroying neighbouring houses, causing more than £1m worth in damage.

An unemployed father of six, Partington suffered 40 percent burns and was in hospital for two months.

Jamie was watching television in the living room of his family home next door when the blast occurred.

His mother, Michelle Heaton, was in the backyard hanging up clothes and his father Kenny was out at work. 

Selfish and deliberate criminal act 

A statement released by Jamie's parents following sentencing 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." 

Judge Justice Hamblen said: "The resulting scene of the devastation resembled a bombsite and in some senses it was. It was in effect a bomb that you created and detonated.

"As a result of your reckless actions you have caused the death of Jamie. You have taken away his life and a large part of his parents 'and siblings' lives."

Det chief Insp 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."