University pays tribute to employee killed in explosion at home


University officials have paid tribute to a 63-year-old employee, who was killed in an explosion which damaged more than a dozen houses.

Paul Wilmott died in the suspected gas explosion at his home in Haxby, near York, on Friday morning, which obliterated his detached home on Springwood.

He worked for more than 30 years at Leeds Beckett University, most recently in the video production unit.

It was believed he was alone in the house at the time. Specialists recovered his body from the debris.

Vice chancellor Professor Peter Slee said: "Paul was a committed colleague with 33 years' service at our university, most recently in our video production team.

"We are very saddened to hear of his death and our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time."

Meanwhile, a local police officer has asked for residents to be given space to recover during the long repair process.

Pc Kirven 1810 tweeted: "Having been up close on the scene in #haxby last night I can safely say you need to give the community time to come to terms with what's...

"...happened. Please don't harass, pester or nosey in on them. They have a lot of work to repair their homes ahead of them so please please...

"..respect their privacy and please respect the dignity of the male who lost his life and don't gossip about him on social media. Thank you."