London, July 19 (IANS) An Indian-origin landlord in the UK who failed to fit smoke alarms inside a house owned by him leading to the death of two boys in a fire, has been jailed for a year, in the first prosecution of its kind in the country since new smoke alarm regulations were introduced in 2015.
Kamal Bains, 51 was told that his inability to install smoke detectors at his property in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, was a “significant cause” of the deaths of Logan Taylor, three, and two-year-old Jake Casey, the Telegraph reported.
The 51-year-old was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday for repeatedly ignoring requests to install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at the rented property before the fire in February 2016.
Sentencing him, Justice Males, told him: “Your failure to fit smoke alarms was a significant cause of the children’s deaths. Thus the harm caused by your failure could not have been more serious.”
The youngsters died when an electrical fault in a TV caused a fire in their bedroom in February 2016 as their mother Emma Taylor was beaten back by heat as she tried to rescue them, the court heard.
Bains admitted a breach of health safety law in a case believed to be the first of its kind.
West Yorkshire Police said the prosecution was the first to be brought since legislation was passed in October 2015 which requires private sector landlords to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties.
Bains had been on trial for manslaughter but the charges were dropped after he admitted the health and safety violations.
Bains is the director of property management company Prime Property Estates (Yorkshire), which maintains around 140 homes in the Huddersfield area on behalf of private landlords for a 10 per cent cut on the rent.
The boys’ mother said she asked Bains “time after time” to fit alarms at the house he managed in Alder Street.
In a statement read to the court, she said: “I don’t think I will ever recover from this awful tragedy. The worst thing is I won’t get to see my boys grow up.”
The judge said that tests carried out by investigators showed that Taylor would have had “a few minutes” to rescue her two boys if an alarm had been fitted.
After the hearing, the kids’ parents in statement said: “We do hope that this case highlights this important issue and for people to know their responsibilities as landlords or letting agents and to take appropriate action to ensure that any property they are responsible for has working smoke alarms.”
“Such a simple check could have saved the lives of our boys and we want to ensure that this does not happen to anyone else.”