Lincolnshire landlord lied to police and risked tenants lives
Posted 14/07/2016 by Macdonald Martin Ltd.
Keith Newsum, 53, of Humberston Avenue, owned 19 properties in the North East of Lincolnshire was branded a “penny-pinching profiteer” who lied to police.
Judge Peter Kelson QC said he considered locking up the landlord after he risked the lives of his tenants by failing to have a suitable fire risk assessment. Grimsby Crown Court found that fire alarms failed to go off when a blaze broke out at a House of Multiple Occupation in Bursar Street, Cleethorpes, at around midnight on Friday June 22, 2014. The tenants, at the time, had to flee for their lives and one resident who was a former soldier, told how he banged on neighbours’ doors to alert them of the fire.
The court head that any heavy sleepers or intoxicated heavy sleepers may well have been killed in the blaze. As well as admitting to failing to have a sufficient fire risk assessment, Newsum, who was said to have assets up to £1.3 million, also admitted failing to take general fire precautions and failing to have the premises equipped with the relevant fire detectors and alarms. Keith also pleaded guilty to failing to provide self-closing fire doors and ensuring fire doors were not wedged open.
Judge Kelson adjourned the case for sentence next month after hearing Newsum had lied to police under caution when he said a fire door was kept open. But prosecuting, Pascal bates said the door had been locked for four years. Mr Bates said the owner had joined two properties together and locked up one of the front doors, creating one entrance.
The prosecutor said: “Because two fire doors were open, the fire could draw oxygen from the kitchen and main part of the house and from the doorway. It created noxious smoke and heat which escaped into other parts of the property, which would not have happened and the fire doors been closed.”
The court heard Newsum had since obtained professional fire risk advice for his other properties in Freeston Street, Brereton Avenue, Corporation Road, Cosgrove Street and Farebrother Street.
Mr Bates eventually submitted costs of £157,000.
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