Father-to-be killed by fumes as he worked on basement at £5m Notting Hill home

·2-min read
Alexandru Sorin and girlfriend Lavinia Ignat (Central News)
Alexandru Sorin and girlfriend Lavinia Ignat (Central News)

A father-to-be died after inhaling toxic fumes during refurbishment work to the basement of a £5 million Notting Hill mansion, a court heard.

Alexandru Sorin, a 27-year-old builder, was stripping paint from bricks when he was overcome by fumes at the Berkeley Gardens property in July 2017.

Despite efforts by paramedics to save his life on the pavement outside, Mr Sorin died at the scene, City of London magistrates’ court was told.

Stewart Bailey, 56, and John McCole, 47, the directors of Brick Restoration Ltd (BRL), have now been prosecuted over health and safety failings in the wake of Mr Sorin’s death.

District Judge Susan Holdham fined the company £50,000 and handed community orders to both directors. “The work at Berkeley Square included the removal of paint in a lightwell extending down to the basement level at the rear of the property,” she said.

The judge said McCole was “responsible for the work on site” and had not been concerned about safety when using paint stripper DCM “because of the air flow and he expected Mr Sorin to wear a mask”.

She said both directors had “expressed their deep regret” after the death and she accepted McCole — who found Mr Sorin unconscious and assisted efforts to revive him — had been “deeply affected” by the death on July 25, 2017.

She said Mr Sorin “had been told to get out of the area should he start to feel dizzy or unwell” and had not been wearing a mask prior to his collapse, concluding the directors were not “being willingly blind to risk”. Mr Sorin, of West Norwood, left his girlfriend, Lavinia Ignat, who was six months pregnant.

Their son is called Alex Jr, in tribute to his late father, and she wrote after his death: “You were, you are and you will be all for me. Thank you for the most beautiful gift in my life, our baby, Alex Jr. You will live through us and we will continue together this beautiful journey called life. I love you, take care of us.”

Bailey, from Acton, west London, McCole, of Motspur Park, south-west London, and Worcester-based BRL all admitted contravening health and safety regulations by “failing to ensure that the exposure of its employees… to substances hazardous to health was prevented”.

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