Northern Ireland

Castlerock carbon monoxide deaths 'took away our future'

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Media captionKatrina Davidson: "We knew he was responsible for the boys' deaths"

The mother of one of two teenagers who died from carbon monoxide poisoning has said the deaths "took our future away".

In 2010, Neil McFerran and Aaron Davidson, both 18, were overcome by gas from a boiler at an apartment in Castlerock, County Londonderry.

Earlier this week, Londonderry gas fitter George Brown pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Police said the conviction of Brown was the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Aaron's mother, Katrina, said the "surprise" change of plea spared the two families the trauma of a trial.

"There were really just mixed emotions," she told BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster programme.

"It brought back three and half years ago when it all happened, but then there was the relief that there wasn't going to be a trial.

"We dreaded the thought of having to go there every day and listen to people's evidence and what they were going to say, but it was still very upsetting for the family."

Neil and Aaron from Newtownabbey, County Antrim, died on 3 August, 2010.


The friends, and another teenager, Mathew Gaw, had been on a break in Castlerock before getting their A-level exam results.

They were found by their parents, who went to the seaside town when they were unable to contact the young men.

Both Neil and Aaron had been poisoned by carbon monoxide from a defective flue in a gas boiler. Matthew survived the toxic fumes in the apartment.

Mrs Davidson said: "We always knew that he (George Brown) was responsible for the boys' deaths.

"There was no doubt about that. But we knew the health and safety and police had a very, very difficult job to prove this.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Neil McFerran and Aaron Davidson (R) were poisoned by carbon monoxide from a badly installed fire

"They have just tried endlessly and we just can't thank them enough."

Mrs Davidson said her family was "incomplete" without her son, who would have been 22 next week.

"It's a completely different life," she said.

"Every day is just another day without part of us being there."

George Brown, from Ballygawley Road, Aghadowey, had initially pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

He had also previously denied a further 19 charges involving failures in health and safety legislation.

Brown will be sentenced in March.

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