Coroner Accepts Trading Standards Recommendations in Fridge Fire Inquest

A Coroner has accepted in full recommendations drafted by Miles Bennett, following the conclusion of an inquest into the death of Benjamin Mutthiah, who died as a result of a dwelling house fire that was caused by a Beko frost-free fridge-freezer.

Miles acted for Hertfordshire County Council's Trading Standards Service during the inquest at Barnet Coroner's Court that lasted three weeks. The Trading Standards Service were an interested party at the inquest as they were the "Home Authority" for Beko at the time of Mr Mutthiah's tragic death.

On 26th September, Her Majesty's Coroner, Andrew Walker returned a narrative conclusion, and said that he was satisfied that it was necessary to make a "regulation 28" report with recommendations for the prevention of future deaths. The Coroner indicated that he would be adopting Hertfordshire County Council Trading Standards Service’s written submissions and recommendations in full when submitting his report.

Those recommendations included:

  1. The creation of a Government-funded, national website where all product recalls could be registered and accessed by consumers and retailers;
  2. The mandatory placement on all domestic "white goods" appliances of manufacturer, make, model number etc in flame retardant material;
  3. A change in the law to increase the maximum penalties for breaches of regulations 7 and 9 of the General Product Safety Regulations 2005;
  4. The notification by all Fire and Rescue Services to Trading Standards of fires originating in, or caused by domestic "white goods" appliances; and
  5. The creation of a Code of Practice on product recalls with a view to improving consistency of approach by manufacturers and retailers.

The conclusion of the inquest attracted widespread media coverage, including from BBC News and ITV News.