Driver Accidentally Gassed Himself and a Passenger With DIY Car Mods

By Gary Cutlack on at

A driver from Chelmsford accidentally killed himself and a passenger in his Ford Fiesta, after DIY modifications led to a massive increase in the amount of engine fumes entering the compartment.

Two mistakes combined to turn the car into a deathtrap; removing the catalytic converter and cutting makeshift vents into the car's bonnet, which resulted in carbon monoxide levels around 1,000 times higher than those produced by a non-modded vehicle flooding the car.

20-year-old Thomas Putt was ironically working as a trainee engineer for Ford at the time. He was sitting in the parked car with passenger Nikki Willis, 23, with the engine running.

Ford employee Charlotte Ward said: "This was a terrible tragedy, Tom was a popular and talented apprentice, and our thoughts remain with his family, friends and colleagues. The coroner's verdict cited modifications, including the removal of the catalytic converter, as a contributing factor and we do not recommend the modification of any Ford vehicle beyond the manufacturer's guidelines." [BBC]

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