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Gardener, 63, killed by his garden hose after inhaling deadly Legionnaires’ disease from stagnant water that had been baked by the sun

Green-fingered Stephen Clements, from Cromer, Norfolk, died just a week after he breathed in the lethal bacteria


Stephen Clements, 63, died just a week after he is believed to have inhaled deadly legionella bacteria

The green-fingered granddad is believed to have breathed in the noxious spores that had developed inside the standing water in the hose.

Now the 63-year-old former builder’s wife is warning others about the risks of the waterborne sickness.

Alison, who lives on the Felbrigg Estate near Cromer, said: “Stephen had cleaned the patio earlier in the year and left the hose out across the lawn filled with water.

“In the winter sun, it was the perfect temperature for the bacteria to breed.

“He was cleaning the terrace with a stiff broom and the garden hose on spray. The sweeping of the broom caused the perfect aerosol, which my husband then breathed into his lungs.


It is believed the bacteria developed in the stagnant water that rested inside his garden hose while it lay out in the sun

“My husband had a heart condition but was active and well. He began having symptoms, which appeared to be an upset stomach to start with but rapidly developed into pneumonia.

“I didn’t believe them when they said he might not make it. Steve and I had been together 43 years. The last thing we spoke about was what we would do when he came home.

“He spent his last two days in intensive care at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

“They called me and said that Steve kept taking his oxygen mask off because he didn’t like it, and that they were going to sedate him so they could insert a respirator.

“His his heart rate was going up and his kidneys began to fail. And then they told us that the antibiotics weren’t working on the pneumonia.


“They took him off his heart medication and his heart beat maybe another half a dozen times, and then he was gone.”

The family, including his two children Joanna and Jefferson, said “We feel his loss very deeply, especially as his death could have been prevented if we had had the knowledge of the dangers of Legionella bacteria.

“We had no idea that a garden hose could be so lethal.”

Alison, 61, who set up Eastern Natural Foods in Marble Hill with her husband, which operated from 1982 to 1988, said their grandchildren Olivia, four, and William, two, are struggling with the loss of their grandfather.

Call Watercare on 01642 226404 or visit for advice on hosepipes.

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