Teenager Dies of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Earl of Dalhousie Vacation Home



A Scottish student has died of carbon monoxide poisoning due to faulty heating in a holiday home owned by the Earl of Dalhousie and his heir Lord Ramsay.

Lord Ramsay was in court to hear his Dalhousie Estate-based farming business admit it put vacationers at risk of injury or death from poisoning.

Retired private school teacher Piers Le Cheminant – who sublet the property for the tragic breakdown – also admitted to committing the same health and safety breaches.

Thomas Hill, 18, a freshman at Stirling University, was found dead behind a bathroom door at Glenmark Cottage after succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Tax MP Gavin Callaghan told Dundee Sheriff Court: ‘Mr Hill was on 28 October 2015 on vacation with his girlfriend Mrs Beard and her family.

“The Beard family had rented a lodge – Glenmark Cottage – which is near Tarfside, northwest of the village of Edzell.

“The Cottage is owned by Burghill Farms, a general partnership in the fields of agriculture, sports and property management. During the defamation period, the company’s partners were The Earl and Countess of Dalhousie and their son, Lord Ramsay.

“It is understood that the partners are now Lord Ramsay and the Dalhousie 2021 Trust. The partnership is called Dalhousie Estates. The estate covers 48,000 acres.

“Mr. Le Cheminant is a historical user of the gîte … and has been renting it since 2008, with authorization to sublet it for seasonal rental.

“The facilities could rightly be described as basic. Heating and lighting were provided by a combination of gas appliances and candles.

“On Wednesday, October 28, Mr. Hill went for a bath in the afternoon. About an hour after going for a bath, Ms. Beard went to check that he was okay.

“The bathroom door was locked and received no response, entry into the room was eventually forced, after which Mr. Hill was found sitting, leaning against the door.

“There was a smell of gas emanating from the gas heater in the room, which produced a hum. It was turned off and CPR began.

“Considerable effort was put into resuscitating Mr. Hill by a variety of people, including the Beard family, plantation workers and paramedics.

“Mr Hill was placed in an ambulance for transport to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, but was pronounced dead en route.

“A subsequent autopsy confirmed that the cause of Mr. Hill’s death was carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Burghill Farms and Le Cheminant, Spitchwick Manor, Poundsgate, Newton Abbot have both admitted putting people at risk of death at Glenmark Cottage for more than seven years.

They admitted that between March 1, 2008 and October 28, 2015, they failed to ensure that gas heaters were kept in a safe condition in order to avoid the risk of injury to vacationers.

They admitted that the heaters were used in rooms that were far too small and not well ventilated, nor were they adequately maintained.

The charges – under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations and the Occupational Health and Safety Act – state that “those in these premises have been exposed to a risk of injury or death. due to exposure to carbon monoxide “.

Mr Callaghan, on behalf of the Crown, said: “It was assumed that Mr Hill died of carbon monoxide poisoning and this was later found to be correct.”

He said an investigation revealed that there had been cracks in the radiator and that it was producing carbon monoxide far beyond safe levels.

“The accusations relate to the more basic problem that the radiators shouldn’t have been there at all, due to the volume of the room and the resulting risk of carbon monoxide exposure.

“The radiator should never have been in the bathroom. A knowledgeable gas engineer would have identified the risk. Neither Burghill Farms nor Mr. Le Cheminant had a proactive maintenance system.

“The four gas heaters were in rooms where they should not have been placed because the rooms were too small and insufficiently ventilated. They put people inside those rooms at risk.

“There would have been a number of people during the charge period. Anyone in the chalet during the period would have been at risk.”

Mr Callaghan said the criminal case would be followed by a fatal accident investigation “to examine the gas safety issues that Mr Hill’s untimely and tragic death has exposed”.

Sheriff Gillian Wade has postponed sentencing for reporting until the end of the month and lawyers for both defendants have apologized to Mr Hill’s family.

Outside the courtroom, Lord Ramsay said: “We offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Thomas Hill on their tragic loss and hope that today’s proceedings and the investigation into the fatal accident have served them well. will bring some comfort.

“As the owner of the property, Burghill Farms believed safety issues were taken care of, with a gas engineer handling the maintenance of the property.

“It became evident during the complex investigation of this case that what was asked of us went beyond and we admitted our share of responsibility in court today.”

Lord Ramsay is the son and heir of the Scottish landowner, the 17th Earl of Dalhousie.

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