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Suspended sentence & curfew for landlord's 13 fire safety offences

A landlord who pleaded guilty to 13 fire safety offences across seven properties has been given a six-month suspended prison sentence and a six-month night-time curfew.

Rubbish in the stairwell of one of the properties in St Annes

Lytham landlord Neal Gilligan owned seven properties sub-divided into flats in St Annes. Following a fire in December 2010 at one of the properties, fire safety officers found evidence of serious breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. These included inadequate fire risk assessments, fire alarms damaged or switched off, fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, fire alarm systems and emergency lighting not being maintained in adequate condition., obstructions and combustibles (including a motorcycle) on escape routes, and inadequate fire separation.

Enforcement notices were issued for all seven premises and were followed up and extended on two occasions. Ultimately none were adequately complied with by the completion date, according to Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.

In two cases prohibition notices were also issued to prevent use of the buildings, but the conditions set out in these notices were also breached.

On 2 August 2012 Mr Gilligan pleaded guilty to 13 offences under the Fire Safety Order:

  • two counts of failure to comply with an enforcement notice
  • seven counts of failure to make a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment
  • two counts of failure to comply with a prohibition notice
  • one count of failure to provide a suitable system of maintenance
  • one count of failure to ensure routes to emergency exits were kept clear.


The defendant pleaded not guilty to a further ten alleged offences. He was sentenced on 11 October at Preston Crown Court for the 13 counts to a prison sentence of six months – suspended for 18 months – and is subject to a six-month curfew between 7pm and 7am. He was also ordered to contribute £200 towards costs.

Mr Gilligan no longer owns the premises to which the case relates.

Following the hearing, Lancashire’s assistant chief fire officer, Dave Russel, said:

“The sentencing of Neal Gilligan marks the conclusion of a lengthy process that began with our efforts to impress upon the landlord what must be done to keep his tenants safe from fire. He made no attempt to comply with the law and this led to the issue of several enforcement and prohibition notices, ultimately leading to the prosecution case we see the outcome of today.

“There is no satisfaction in seeing Mr Gilligan punished for his failure to make his premises safe, but we are glad that as a result of our actions the tragedy of what could so easily have been multiple fire deaths was prevented.”

Source: info4fire
 


Date Published: 19/10/2012
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