Landlord Jailed Over Deaths

30 March 2012, 12:04 | Updated: 30 March 2012, 12:20

A landlord's been jailed for breaking fire safety rules after a mum and her three year old daughter died in a house fire in Milton Keynes.

Bola Ejifunmilayo and her daughter Fiyin (pictured right) died at 200 Fishermead Boulevard in Fishermead, which had been converted into bedsits.  Their bodies were not found the day after the fire because firefighters mistakenly thought everyone in the house had been accounted for.

The fire was started by Barbara Zhanje, 49, from Kettering, who was in another part of the house.  She had started the fire to get back at an ex-boyfriend.  Bola and Fiyin were upstairs and couldn't escape the flames.  Zhanje was jailed for 12 years in March 2011 for manslaughter.

Lookman Adeyemi, from Buckfast Avenue, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, admitted three counts of breaking fire safety regulations.

He pleaded guilty to failing to make suitable assessment of the fire risk, failing to make sure people could get out quickly in the event of a fire, and for putting insufficient fire detectors and alarms inside the building.

He was jailed for four months on Thursday 29 March 2012, and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs.

Sentencing Adeyemi, His Honour Justice Lord Parmoor said: "Although your failings did not cause the fire, the fact that one of your tenants and a child died is some indication of the risk run by your tenants, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"You were not dealing with rich people. These were people, some of whom did not have a job. You were dealing with a very vulnerable clientele."

Fire Service reaction

Senior fire safety officer Chris Bailey from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service said: "Mr Adeyemi provided accommodation and received rent on the basis that his premises was a house in multiple occupation.

"The residents paid not only for the provision of accommodation, but also for the peace of mind that they were renting a place to live that was safe from fire. Mr Adeyemi failed in his legal duty to provide adequate fire safety arrangements at this address.

"The sentence should act as a reminder to all landlords who provide rented accommodation as part of a house in multiple occupation. They must give proper consideration to the provision of fire safety arrangements, and to the suitable management of these measures once the premises is occupied.

“Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service works closely with Milton Keynes Council and all the district councils in Buckinghamshire to provide the best standard of fire safety guidance to landlords and potential landlords.

“We brought this prosecution as it was in the interest of the public to do so. The result is testament to the professionalism and dedication of my team of fire safety officers and to all the staff of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service, who work so hard towards the goal of making Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes the safest places in England in which to live, work and travel.”