GAS FITTER ACCUSED OF CASTLEROCK DEATHS

Former gasman George Brown, arrives at Coleraine Court today (Monday) on manslaughter charges into two young men who died at apartments in Castlerock in August 2010. Brown also faces 19 other charges.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
Former gasman George Brown, arrives at Coleraine Court today (Monday) on manslaughter charges into two young men who died at apartments in Castlerock in August 2010. Brown also faces 19 other charges.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

A COLERAINE gas fitter accused of causing the death of two teenagers by carbon monoxide poisoning is alleged to have carried out defective work in homes across the north coast.

George Brown, from Ballygawley Road, Aghadowey, faces manslaughter charges following the deaths of two 18-year-olds who perished after being overcome by the deadly gas at an apartment in Castlerock in August 2010.

Neil McFerran and Aaron Davidson were found in the property by their parents who raced from their homes in Newtownabbey when they were unable to contact the young men who had been enjoying a break ahead of receiving their exam results.

Their friend, Matthew Gaw, who was also in the seaside apartment at the time, survived.

Brown (51) also faces 15 counts of failure to protect non-employees, being unqualified to carry out work, failing to ensure competency, installing a gas appliance to an unacceptable standard and failure to test a gas appliance connection.

The alleged work was carried out across the north coast in the months ahead of the double tragedy and included around a dozen homes and a Coleraine restaurant.

Brown was due to have the charges put to him at North Antrim Magistrates’ Court on Monday morning but the case was adjourned for two weeks to allow further time for his defence to examine the police papers.

He was not in the courtroom for the brief hearing but his solcitor, Garrett Greene, told District Judge, Alan White, that Brown has yet to decide whether to contest the charges he faces.

Mr Greene added that the adjournment would allow time to examine the case papers to decide if engineering experts reports would be required.

Mr Greene said Brown - formerly of The Calor Shop in Coleraine - is currently unemployed.

He said the families of the two teenagers were being kept informed of the progress of the case.

Mr White granted the adjournment but said he was concerned of the prospect of further delays.

Aaron and Neil had been enjoying a break in Castlerock ahead of their exam results being published.

When they failed to return home their concerned parents travelled to Castlerock and found them lying in the apartment.

They fought in vain to resuscitate the two young men, both prefects at Glengormley High School.

Following the tragedy, Neil’s mother Catherine said both families were coping with the tragedy one day at a time.

She also praised the overwhelming support received by friends and family which she described as “unbelievable”.