Kelly Webster and Lauren Thornton poison verdict

Lauren Thornton and her mum Kelly Webster
Lauren Thornton and her mum Kelly Webster

An investigation into the deaths of a mother and daughter from Leyland has confirmed that they were killed by carbon monoxide fumes.

Kelly Webster, 36, and her 10-year-old daughter Lauren Thornton, from Church Road, died after suffering breathing difficulties on a private boat on Lake Windermere on April 1.

A Marine Accident Investigation Branch report has now found fumes from a portable petrol-driven generator filled the boat, which had been installed to supply power to the boat.

The generator had been fitted with an improvised exhaust and silencer system which had become detached, it said.

This caused the generator’s exhaust fumes to fill the engine bay and spread into the cabin at the rear of the vessel, where the pair were sleeping.

The boat’s carbon monoxide sensor system did not alarm because it was not connected to a power supply, the investigation found.

The tragedy occurred on the Bayliner motor cruiser on Easter Monday.

Kelly and Lauren, who went to St Anne’s RC Primary School, were on board the private boat with its owner and Kelly’s fiancé, Matthew Eteson.

Mr Eteson, 39, was sleeping in the forward cabin. When he woke up he was also suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, but managed to raise the alarm.

All three were taken to hospital, where Kelly and Lauren died. Mr Eteson was released the following day.

The MAIB report said: “A ‘suitcase’ type portable, petrol-driven generator had been installed in the motor cruiser’s engine bay to supply the boat with 240v power.

“The generator had been fitted with an improvised exhaust and silencer system which had become detached from both the generator and the outlet on the vessel’s side.

“As a result, the generator’s exhaust fumes filled the engine bay and spread through gaps in an internal bulkhead into the aft cabin where the mother and daughter were asleep.”

The report said the incident raised a number of safety issues, not least that engine exhaust systems should be fitted by qualified engineers and properly maintained.