'Life sentence': Mum's grief after boy's shocking death in the shower

Yahoo News Staff
·2-min read

A grieving mum said she’s “lost everything” after her son died from carbon monoxide poisoning due to a hot water unit which wasn’t installed properly.

Jesse Samuel, 12, from New Zealand, died after using the outdoor shower in his family’s holiday home in October 2018, Stuff.co.nz reports.

His mum Justine Walker was cooking dinner at the time but when he didn’t return from the shower after 30 minutes she found him slumped behind the bathroom door.

Jesse’s autopsy found 59 per cent of his blood was saturated with carbon monoxide.

Jesse Samuel, 12, is pictured.
Jesse Samuel, 12, died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Source: NewstalkZB

His mum told The New Zealand Herald outside court on Wednesday the family has received a “life sentence”.

“I feel there is only half of me left, how is this fair on my kids to have half a mum? I've lost everything. I feel helpless, scared, unable to find peace or true happiness,” she told the paper.

Gasfitter Michael Cartwright and Central Plumbing Ltd, which trades as Laser Plumbing Alexandra, were charged over Jesse’s death and face Dunedin District Court on Wednesday for sentencing.

Gary Hale, who co-owns Laser Plumbing, was employed to install a portable gas water heater in the Walker’s bathroom.

The court has heard Cartwright is responsible for checking over and approving Hale’s work but he never checked the unit.

The unit was purchased by Brendon Walker, Jesse’s uncle, in 2016 and later moved to the family’s holiday home.

But a sticker on the hot water unit warns it should not be installed in a bathroom, bedroom, toilet or sleeping area.

Several people used the shower with it installed but were told to keep windows open to allow steam to come out.

Jesse’s family claims he was not told how to use the shower.

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