Landlord sentenced over woman's death

Last updated 16:32 25/06/2014

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A Northland landlord whose shonky DIY work caused a fire that killed a 19-year-old woman has been given a six-month sentence of home detention.

In February last year Lesley Wehi-Jack rented a Ruakaka house from Peter McLeod in which he had personally installed a gas cooker - work that has to be done by a licensed gasfitter by law.

The connection to the cooker leaked gas. When Ms Wehi-Jack returned to the house on Waitangi Day last year and turned on an electrical switch, the gas exploded and engulfed the house in fire.

She later died from the burns she suffered.

McLeod pleaded guilty to failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that the cooker was installed safely.

Today he was sentenced to home detention at the Whangarei District Court and ordered to pay reparation of $5000.

Energy Safety manager Mark Wogan says Lesley Wehi-Jack's death was completely avoidable and a tragic waste of a young life. 

"Peter McLeod is a registered drainlayer. He knew that the work should have been done by a gasfitter. He must now live with the consequences of his actions, as sadly must Ms Wehi-Jack's family. 

Wogan said the onus was on property owners to regularly check the safety of gas and electrical installations and appliances in premises they rent out, particularly between lets.

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