Home>Fire>Enforcement>Suspended prison sentence for Paignton landlady

Suspended prison sentence for Paignton landlady

16 October 2017

A LANDLADY with two properties in Paignton has been handed a suspended prison sentence after admitting numerous fire safety failings at both premises.

In March 2016, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) officers inspected a premise at 2 Warefield Road as part of a multi-agency initiative. The property consisted of four floors and had been converted into flats. The inspection revealed a number of failings including a lack of a suitable fire detection and warning system.

During the inspection, officers were informed of a second house also owned by Kay Godtschalk, which revealed similar failings. Due to the level of risk the occupants were exposed, a Prohibition Notice was served preventing the use of the upper floors in both premises.

The subsequent investigation by DSFRS found that a fire risk assessment had been carried out in June 2015 for both properties. The fire risk assessments had identified deficiencies in the fire safety provisions at both properties but Godtschalk had failed to act on the information, leaving the residents as risk. The investigation also discovered that in April 2015 a quotation for installing a fire detection and warning system at both properties had been obtained but this had never been followed up. 

Godtschalk appeared at Exeter Crown Court on 9 October and pleaded guilty to a total of eight offences (four for each property) under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. She was given an eight month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and was also ordered to pay £8,127 in costs.

After the hearing, DSFRS group business safety manager Paul Bray said: “This was a blatant disregard for the safety of others. Kay Godtschalk was made aware of the fire safety deficiencies yet failed to take any action knowingly leaving residents at risk. This was a reckless breach of the law as Kay Godtschalk was in position of trust.”