Young campervan fan dies in tragic accident

The tragic death of a campervan enthusiast has led to a coroner warning all mobile home users to be aware of the dangers of disposable barbecues after a young man in his twenties was found dead in his campervan.

Nicholas Holmes from Waterlooville in Hampshire decided to go for a short stay in the nearby New Forest. He went alone in his campervan and when friends and family realised he had not returned contacted the police. Tragically Nicholas was found dead in his campervan after being overcome with carbon monoxide poisoning. The Coroners’ Court was told how DS Andy Hedley found Nicholas in his van with his head on a pillow and the remains of a disposable barbecue in the back of the van. DS Hedley said Nicholas cooked burgers and bread in the back of the van and must then have closed the van doors.

In giving his verdict Deputy Coroner for Southampton and the New Forest, Gordon Denson, said “I am satisfied that Nicholas’ death was an unforeseen and tragic accident in that he was unaware of the dangers of a lighted barbecue in a confined space, which produces a situation where carbon monoxide is present. I am aware there are warnings on packets of barbecues. It is clear these were overlooked. I make a plea that members of the public take careful note of the printed warnings so these events are not repeated.”

Philip Holmes, Nicholas’ father told of a bright, sensitive and intelligent son but reinforced the words of the coroner saying: “It seems the public are all too unaware of the dangers of these disposable barbecues. They spew out carbon monoxide for 12 hours after they have been used and there have been numerous cases of people losing their lives or nearly losing their lives.”

It is the second tragic accident inside 12 months in the New Forest where campers have been overcome and died with fumes from a disposable barbecue, and campervan insurance experts advise all mobile home owners to only use the cooking facilities provided in the van for cooking inside and to always ensure adequate ventilation is on hand. Disposable barbecues should never be used in enclosed areas.