Kettering house blaze landlord fails in bid to overturn jail sentence

Ajit Singh
Ajit Singh

A Kettering landlord, who “placed profit over the interests of safety” by flouting fire regulations in a string of multiple-occupancy houses, has had a challenge to his nine-month jail term thrown out by top judges.

Ajit Singh, 50, had inadequate fire safety equipment available to the occupants in nine houses, one of which was home to a seven-year-old boy who lost his life in a blaze.

Singh, of Cleveland Avenue, Kettering, was jailed at Northampton Crown Court in September after he admitted failing to take general fire precautions.

On Tuesday. November 26, Lord Justice Treacy, Sir Colin MacKay and Judge James Goss QC, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, rejected his challenge to that term.

The court heard Singh had inadequate general fire precautions in place in properties in nine Kettering streets.

One of the properties, in Edinburgh Road, caught fire on May 22 last year and a seven-year-old boy, Mateusz Wlodarczyk, died in the blaze.

The other properties were in Havelock Street, Wood Street, Wellington Street, Regent Street, Leicester Street, Mill Road, Digby Street, and Kings Walk.

Sir Colin MacKay allowed a small element of Singh’s appeal by removing a £100 victim surcharge he had been ordered to pay but which had been unlawfully imposed.

However, the judge refused Singh permission to appeal the length of his jail term, commenting: “The sentencing judge was entitled to conclude that this applicant had placed the interests of profit over the interests of safety.”

He concluded: “He had not complied with enhanced fire safety precautions... the seriousness of deliberately running risks of this kind cannot in our view be over-emphasised.”