A teenager who moved into a summerhouse in his parents’ garden for more independence died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a wood-burning stove he and his father fitted, an inquest heard.

Declan Oliver, 19, installed the stove with his father Ian to heat the outbuilding that had become his home.

A week later he was found dead in his bed after deadly carbon monoxide leaked out.

Declan Oliver
Ian Oliver

Tragic accident: Declan Oliver died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a stove he fitted with his father Ian, who said he was ‘devestated with guilt’

The flue was the wrong length which meant it could not extract the poisonous gas properly and it leaked out through the front of the stove.

Mr Oliver, 54, said he was ‘devastated with guilt’ and paid tribute to his son, whom he called his ‘best mate’.

Declan, who worked for his father’s car restoration business with his older brother Ben, 21, moved into the brick-built summerhouse 18 months before his death, but it was hard to heat in the winter.


Popular: The Cottager II cast iron stove is a popular brand that Mr Oliver chose because it was easy to install

In January this year he used money from a £2,800 lottery win to buy the £500 Cottager 2 cast iron stove.

Mr Oliver, from Morton, near Dorchester, Dorset, said: ‘The reason we bought the wood burner was it seemed to be a safe, cheap form of heat, quite within the realms of DIY.’

The pair fitted the stove on January 31 following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Mr Oliver told the inquest they did not have it checked by a qualified installer because the only warnings were for potential fire hazards, which he felt was ‘common sense’.

He added there was no mention of carbon monoxide poisoning or the need for ventilation although it did urge consumers to comply with British regulations.

He said: ‘In hindsight the instructions were not sufficient, but at the time they enabled us to fit it. I asked Dec every morning if it was working well and asked if it was smoky and he said it was fine.

‘He never complained of headaches or anything, if he had I’d have been suspicious straight away.’

Declan arrived home at 3.15am on Saturday, February 6, after a night out with friends.

He was found at 8.45am with white foam around his nostrils and mouth. His father and mother Jackie, a 49-year-old nurse, carried out mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until paramedics arrived, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Oliver said: ‘I still can’t understand it or believe it. I’ve lost my son, best mate and workmate.

‘We were so close, it makes it all so much harder.’

He is now trying to warn others of the dangers from wood-burning stoves, about which he said there was ‘total ignorance’.

He said: ‘We can’t bring him back, but if nothing else it would be good to raise awareness and hopefully save other lives.’

Recording an accident verdict, East Dorset coroner Sheriff Payne urged local authorities to demand greater legislation to combat carbon monoxide poisoning, which he said caused around five deaths a year.