Carbon monoxide poisoning deaths in Camborne shock neighbours and friends

A TIGHT-KNIT family of three leading a normal life were unaware their mobile home was filling with carbon monoxide.

Minutes later the silent killer claimed their lives.

The gas from an incorrect operation of their cooker has been blamed for the deaths of retired farmer John Cook, aged 90; his 86-year-old wife, Audrey and their 46-year-old daughter, Maureen.

They and their five-year-old family dog, Jannie, were found on Saturday afternoon in their static caravan at Tremarle Home Park in North Roskear, Camborne.

Firefighters, police and a specialist hazardous material adviser were called to the caravan at lunchtime after the family failed to respond to knocks on the door from the couple’s helper, who became worried.

Inspector David Eldridge, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “We were able to see that there was a figure sitting in a chair, but the occupants were unresponsive to knocks at the door.”

Firefighters forced entry and found the elderly couple in the lounge while their daughter was discovered in one of the bedrooms.

The force confirmed on Monday that tests by gas safety experts and scenes of crime officers established the cause of the deaths as carbon monoxide poisoning.

The fire service said the level of the gas detected was 20 times the lethal dose.

Following the tragic incident shocked neighbours and friends have paid tribute to the “lovely” couple and their “gentle” daughter who had been living in the park community for 40 years.

Paul Holmes, chairman of the Liberal Party in Cornwall and an Illogan parish councillor, said he was devastated to hear the news.

He remembers the family being active members of the party, with Miss Cook having stood for the parliamentary elections representing South East Cornwall in 1992. She gained 644 votes.

He said: “They were all loyal members of the party and original members of the group when it was formed in 1989.

“John was very interested in politics and being a farmer he was anti-Common Market.

“He also loved cricket. They were a lovely family.”

Increasing numbers of flowers have marked the scene of the tragedy since the weekend, with neighbours continuing to pay their respects.

One bouquet read: “Why did this happen to lovely people like you?”

Another said: “I did not know you very well but you will be missed by all. I will say a prayer in church on Sunday night, God bless.”

Fighting back tears, friend Judith Clarke told the West Briton: “They were a nice family who kept themselves to themselves.

“Maureen was a gentle soul who looked after her mum and dad.

“She loved her dog and she always used to fuss my dog, Poppy, as she walked by.

“I am absolutely gutted and it’s hard to believe they are gone.”

Friend Julie Boon, aged 55, knew the family for 20 years. She said: “I saw Maureen and her mum on Thursday morning when they were walking their dog.

“Maureen asked about my dog, Rusko, and her mum commented on the cold weather and then they went. That’s the last time I saw them.

“They were a lovely family who loved their dog and their home. The whole community is shocked and devastated.”

Neighbour Margaret Holmes described them as a “quiet family”. She said: “We are devastated. You just don’t expect something like this to happen on your doorstep.”

And another neighbour, Debbie Barkle, aged 53, added: “It was a bit of a shock.

“I often saw them walking their dog and Maureen sometimes stopped to bring some rabbit food for my pet rabbits.”

Firefighters were called to four other suspected carbon monoxide incidents last weekend.

Three of them, in Torpoint, Bude and St Austell, were false alarms.

On Sunday ambulance crews treated two people for carbon monoxide poisoning in St Austell.

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