Liverpool man handed
suspended prison sentences for failing to take fire precautions
A man who held a dance event in the
basement of a Liverpool property, Naylor Street, Vauxhall, Liverpool, has been
handed suspended prison sentences for failing to take adequate fire precautions,
in a case brought by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.
Andrew Jones, of St Domingo Vale in Liverpool, appeared before Liverpool Crown
Court, on Friday, 15 April 2016, after previously pleading guilty to 12 charges
including failure to take general fire precautions, failure to carry out a
suitable risk assessment at the premises, failure to ensure the safety of people
on the premises and failure to provide emergency routes and exits.
The court heard how firefighters were called to the property on the morning of
6 July 2014, where around 60 people had attended the event the night before.
Crews found combustible materials on the walls and ceilings of the basement and
no discernible means of escape.
Further investigations revealed the property lacked adequate fire precautions,
emergency lighting, any methods of raising the alarm in the event of a fire and
that there were electrical leads trailing across the floor.
A prohibition notice was served to Andrew Jones, leaseholder of the property,
and he was subsequently summonsed to appear before Liverpool Magistrates' Court
where he pleaded guilty to all charges.
Jones was handed custodial sentences of 12 months per offence to run
concurrently, reduced to 8 months per offence due to his early guilty plea.
The sentences are suspended for 2 years.
He was also given a 2 year supervision order, ordered to carry out 150 hours of
unpaid work and instructed to pay a fine of £1,200. He was ordered to take part
in a training skills programme.
Speaking after the hearing, Fire Safety Officer Stewart Martindale said:-
"Mr Jones had failed to ensure that the premises under his control were safe for
such an event. The visitors to this event would have been unfamiliar with the
layout of the premises, many of them were young persons under the influence of
drugs and alcohol and, as such, if there had of been a fire it is reasonable to
believe that numerous occupants may have been seriously injured or even killed.
As such, the Fire Authority had no alternative, but to bring a prosecution
against this individual."