Fireman landlord jailed after fatal blaze
By |Published On: 23rd November 2015|

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Fireman landlord jailed after fatal blaze

By |Published On: 23rd November 2015|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

A landlord who was an operational fireman at the time an arson attack killed five members of a family in one of his properties has been put behind bars.

Mr Jay Liptrot, one of the firefighters called to the scene of the blaze, tried in vain to save members of the young family.


In a harrowing case, the fire was proved to have been started by a neighbour, who was jailed for life for the murder of the five people. Melanie Smith, ordered to serve a minimum of 30 years, was found guilty of deliberating setting fire to a pram in the communal hallway of the accommodation.

Mr Liptrot faced 5 charges of manslaughter at the beginning of his trial. However, these charges were subsequently dropped after he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of failing to take the necessary fire safety precautions.

Caernarfon Crown Court heard that a simple fire door, costing around £250, would have restricted the flow of the fire for roughly 30 minutes. The firefighters arrived on the scene within 6 minutes of the 999 call.


The court also heard that a, ‘woefully inadequate,’ door made from glass and thin wood failed to form a sufficient barrier to protect the family, made up of a couple aged 23 and 20, and three small children, aged 4, 2 and 1.

Mr Lipton had been a firefighter for 15 years at the time of the fire but his since lost his job. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison, alongside costs of £4,299 and a £100 victim surcharge.

Fireman landlord jailed after fatal blaze

Fireman landlord jailed after fatal blaze

Despite this, he still owns a further 11 properties in the Prestatyn are. Following the case, North Wales Fire and Rescue said that it is introducing a new policy, which will require staff to declare any conflict of interest.


Passing sentence, Mrs Justice McGowan noted, ‘Jay Liptrot has generally been a good and conscientious landlord. However, his culpability must be categorised as high.’[1]

Simon Smith, chief fire officer of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, added that Mr Liptrot would be the subject of an internal investigation. ‘As a responsible employer whose priority is the safety of the public, it is of course of deep concern to us that an employee, as a landlord, failed to take precautions to ensure this property was safe which not only goes against legislation but also against the core values of our service,’ he stated. {!}




About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

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