Jack Thorne Statement

Press Release: 27/04/2007

Winchester City Council is aware of the recent press speculation about the tragic death of Jack Thorne who lived at a Council property in Weeke, Winchester.

Richard Botham, Head of Housing Landlord Services said: "Clearly our first thoughts are with the family at this very difficult time and whilst this is a tragic case, it would be wrong to view the circumstances as a 'Council oversight'." 

"Our investigations so far have revealed no evidence whatsoever of any hazards being left in the garden of the property when it was last relet in 2005 and it is very unfortunate when recent headlines are printed without the facts being clear.

"Council tenants are responsible for the maintenance of their gardens. When properties are empty, a visual inspection of the garden will be completed and any obvious hazards such as garden ponds removed. The Council have also for the last year begun videoing these inspections to improve the service further, something which is rarely done elsewhere.

"We are confident that our procedures are reflective of good practice nationally and that this was not a mistake on the part of one of our employees."

Since our previous statement was released we have been contacted by Jack Thorne's family

Richard Botham, Head of Housing Landlord Services added "We did not wish to contact the family at this difficult time but they were so concerned about the "Council's Fatal Oversight" story that appeared in the press today, that they have contacted us direct. They have been able to confirm inaccuracies in the report and have said that they do not blame the council for what happened.

"The reported "buried water butt" was in fact a small black dustbin, which is clearly not a hazard that would have been identified in any council property inspection.

Mr Botham added, "We are disappointed at the sensationalist nature of today's Daily Echo report and trust that the newspaper reflects on the distress caused."