26.9.2016 Coventry man suffered serious burns in arson attack after landlord failed to install fire alarm


Landlord Simon Fox avoided immediate custody after pleading guilty to two charges at Warwick Crown Court      

 A tenant suffered life-threatening burns in an arson attack after the landlord failed to install a fire alarm outside his room.

Landlord Simon Fox had denied failing to take general fire precautions and placing people in danger in the event of a fire, but pleaded guilty on the day of his trial at Warwick Crown Court.

The charge followed a fire in a multi-occupancy house in Humber Road, Stoke, which was said to be one of 21 properties Fox has in Coventry and north Warwickshire.

Fox, aged 55, of Common Lane, Polesworth, was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Stephen Eyre QC also fined him £25,000 to be paid by the end of August next year, with 15 months in prison in default, and £24,300 costs.

What was the prosecution case?

Mark Jackson, prosecuting on behalf of the West Midlands Fire Service, had said: “The case is concerned with a number of fire safety breaches at the two-storey end-of-terrace house.”  He explained that the house at 254 Humber Road was a multi-occupancy property, with three bedrooms on the ground floor and four on the first floor.

At shortly before 5am on January 15, 2011, there was an arson incident when an intoxicated ground-floor resident, who has since been jailed for three years, started a fire in her room.

Most of the other residents were asleep, and two were trapped in their first-floor rooms.

One was rescued by fire fighters who, unable to get upstairs inside the house because of the fire, smashed the window with an axe and carried him down a ladder to safety.

The other trapped resident, David Lennon, recalled being woken by the crackling sound of the fire, but there had been no alarm in his room or the hallway outside to alert him.

Story collated by Liz Turnbull.

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