London, Sep 27 — A British court sentenced an Indian-origin landlord to nine months in jail for a seven-year-old boy’s death in a fire due to inadequate fire safety measures at a property owned by him.
Northampton Crown Court in England Thursday sentenced Ajit Singh to nine months in prison and ordered him to pay 7,500 pounds in costs for not following fire safety norms at 14 properties owned by him in Kettering, Northamptonshire, the Daily Mail reported.
The court was also told that Singh had not ensured that there were adequate smoke alarms and fire exits in the house where seven-year-old Mateusz Wlodarczyk died in a blaze May 22 last year.
The court heard that several people lived in Singh’s properties that did not have adequate fire safety systems in place.
He also reportedly took the battery out of the smoke alarm in the house that Wlodarczyk lived in.
Two men – Waldemar Ordynowski, 41, and Husseyin Ozzengin, 45 – who acted as property managers for Singh were also handed suspended sentences of three and four months in jail respectively.
According to the report, there were also no fire doors in Wlodarczyk’s house and the front door could only be opened from the inside with a key, making it difficult for the victim to escape.
Firefighters battled to rescue the boy but he suffocated to death after inhaling thick plumes of smoke.
An inquest heard that if the fire alarms were in place, the youngster would have been saved.
Singh, who lives in a swanky 350,000-pound detached house in Kettering, earlier this year pleaded guilty to failing to take general fire precautions at nine properties he owned in the town.
“Legislation means that the person responsible for a property is required legally to maintain a standard of fire safety to properly secure the safety of the occupants,” prosecutor Cameron Crowe was quoted as telling the court.
“The fire precautions fell woefully short at Edinburgh Road and the fire subsequently claimed the life of a seven-year-old boy.”
“This case clearly demonstrates how seriously fire safety breaches are viewed by the courts,” Martyn Emberson, chief fire officer of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, was quoted as saying outside the court.
“I hope it sends a clear message to landlords and managing agents across the county.”