Haxby house explosion: Victim was ‘kindest, gentlest person’ say devastated family

Paul Wilmott, who died in the explosion
23 Feb 2016 @ 4.53 pm
| News

The 63-year-old man who died in a house explosion in Haxby near York on Friday morning (February 19) has today been formally identified as Paul Frederick Wilmott.

Father-of-one Mr Wilmott is believed to have been alone in his house in Springwood, Haxby, when the explosion happened.

In a written statement, Mr Wilmott’s family described him as a “fun and inspiring” person who was extremely kind and enjoyed life.

Their statement reads:

Paul was born in York and had lived here all his life.

Paul had worked for many years at Leeds Beckett University as the specialist sound engineer with the video production unit.

He had been a volunteer with York Hospital Radio since he was a young man.

As their technical officer, he did many outside broadcasts including from the York Barbican and York Minister, as well as the city’s Joseph Rowntree Theatre and the Theatre Royal.

He and his partner, Olivia, had been together for over nine years and shared a love of ice skating.

‘Fun and inspiring’

Flashback to Friday: the rubble of the house on Springwood, Haxby. Photograph: Nigel Holland
Flashback to Friday: the rubble of the house on Springwood, Haxby. Photograph: Nigel Holland

His son, Ian, described his father as a happy person, who was fun and inspiring.

Olivia said: “He was the kindest, gentlest person I have ever known.”

Mr Wilmott also leaves behind his mother and brother.

Investigations into the cause remain ongoing.

An inquest is expected to open and adjourn on Thursday (February 25).