Partner’s tribute to ‘kind and gentle’ Haxby house explosion victim

Paul Wilmott, who died in the house explosion in Haxby last week
Paul Wilmott, who died in the house explosion in Haxby last week
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A father-of-one killed in the house explosion in North Yorkshire last week was today described by his partner as “the kindest, gentlest person I have ever known”.

Paul Wilmott, 63, a sound engineer at Leeds Beckett University, died in the suspected gas explosion at the detached property at Haxby, near York, on Friday.

The scene in Haxby, North Yorkshire, after a house was destroyed in an explosion. The detached building was reduced to rubble and nearby properties were badly damaged. Photo :  John Giles/PA Wire

The scene in Haxby, North Yorkshire, after a house was destroyed in an explosion. The detached building was reduced to rubble and nearby properties were badly damaged. Photo : John Giles/PA Wire

Police said today that he is believed to have been alone in his house when the blast occurred. An inquest is expected to open and adjourn on Thursday.

Video: Man dies as North Yorkshire house is destroyed in devastating explosion

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

It said: “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.”

His son, Ian, described his father as a happy person, who was fun and inspiring. Mr Wilmott’s partner Olivia said: “He was the kindest, gentlest person I have ever known.” Police said Mr Wilmott also leaves behind his mother and brother.

The explosion is thought to have been caused by gas and is being treated as an accident after initial inquiries.

About 12 nearby homes were also damaged in the explosion on Friday morning.

Northern Gas Networks said supplies were turned off to a number of the properties as a precaution.

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