Private School Owner fined almost £50,000 for Fire Safety Failings
The owner of one of Britain's top independent schools has been ordered to pay nearly £50,000 for risking pupils' lives by having 'woefully inadequate' fire safety measures.
Millionaire Hekmat Kaveh, 55, who runs £23,450-a-year The Abbey College in Malvern, Worcestershire, admitted 15 fire safety breaches when he appeared in court on Wednesday.
The property developer was fined £24,000 for the offences and ordered to pay £25,000 court costs.
Worcester Crown Court heard the school, which has around 200 pupils aged 14-20, had 'defective smoke alarms and non-functional fire doors in student sleeping areas'.
Judge Michael Cullum told Mr Kaveh his fire risk assessment was 'woefully inadequate' and said the wealthy businessman had 'both a moral and legal responsibility' for the staff and children.
'The consequences of a fire would have been disastrous,' he added.
Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service brought the prosecution against Mr Kaveh after inspectors visited the school in 2011.
Mr Kaveh told the court: “Clearly, I was let down by those people employed and instructed to review the fire assessment at the start of the year, but the law is clear in that the employer is the responsible person and for that reason I had no option but to plead guilty and pay a small percentage of the fire department’s legal fees.”
Speaking after the sentencing, deputy chief officer Richard Lawrence of Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, said lives had been put at risk.
He said: 'This was an extremely serious case where those living and sleeping inside the premises were being put at risk.
'Business owners have a clear responsibility to ensure that both the public and their employees are as safe as possible from the risk of fire.
'This verdict sends out a clear message: in severe cases where responsibilities are ignored, we will prosecute, as it is never acceptable to put lives at risk.'
| ||Collated by Philip Turnbull |
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