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Jail for landlord after tenant’s horrific death in fire ordeal

The landlord of a cellar ‘flat’ where a fire resulted in the death of a man has been jailed for breaching health and safety regulations.

Philip Sheridan died of injuries suffered in a blaze in the unofficially converted basement where he lived in Leeds.

The fire broke out on June 26 2019 and Sheridan, aged 32, died on July 6 that year as a result of complications arising from severe smoke inhalation.


At Leeds Crown Court earlier this week landlord Humrazz Shahid was given an immediate 13-month prison term.

Shahid had earlier admitted the offence of failing to discharge a duty owed under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The court was told that, after the incident, both the fire service and local authority concluded that the converted cellar in a mid-terraced house was unsuitable for human habitation, due in part to the inadequacy of the fire detection and escape measures.

The cellar had only had one entrance – through an inward-opening door that did not have a proper handle on it. That door was partially blocked by the cooker, which was the source of the fire. 

The court also heard that there was no smoke or fire alarm fitted in the property at the time.

Though Shahid was not the owner of the property, he had the authority to deal with its management and had done so since 2008.

He was shown as the landlord on the tenancy agreement he signed with Sheridan in August 2013, and Sheridan’s housing benefit was paid directly into Shahid’s bank account.

Sheridan did manage to escape from the property on his own, but in doing so suffered burns to the back of his head, upper torso, neck and arms, which were consistent with him having to lean back over the cooker which was on fire.

He collapsed on the pavement outside the address and was transferred to hospital where he remained until his death.

Detective Superintendent Marc Bowes, of West Yorkshire Police, says: “The death of Philip Sheridan in these circumstances was an absolute tragedy, but one that was entirely avoidable had Shahid taken his responsibilities to ensure a safe living environment seriously.

“We worked closely with Leeds City Council to bring this successful prosecution, and we hope that seeing Shahid held accountable for his flagrant breach of the regulations will serve as a clear reminder to other landlords and property managers who fail to meet their legal obligations to put the safety of their tenants first.”

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  • icon

    This is a shocking story. A sentence of only 13 months seems highly inadequate to me and sends no real message at all. Maybe if it was 5 years or more then rogue LLs would maybe pay attention. And why on earth has it taken 4 YEARS for this to come to court?

    Apparently, "police interviewed the landlords on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence but they were freed without charge". [Quote from The Mirror] Huh!!?? That is diabolical.


    If the victim had been an ethnic minority the prison sentence would have been stiffer.

  • icon

    Its headline grabbing idiots like this that give us all a bad name unfortunately.


    There are a lot more Landlords out there like this I know I have seen them, one property I have in Newham you look out the back window and you see loads of small prefab bedsits in the gardens.

  • icon

    Both the leniance of the sentence and the lack of charges for the actual landlords (assuming they knew it was being let out) is shocking.

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    At the risk of being called ''racist'' again, look at the name, speaks volumes, I rest my case

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    This is an example of a number of things. One being the Total inadequacy of Licensing to address poor Housing.
    Perhaps Local Authorities could do more with their time, inspecting properties instead of administering wasteful bureaucratic systems.
    Makes you wonder what 'effective' part the How 2 Rent document is, whether it was given in this case, although even if it was, there will still be 000's of people so short of Housing, they will be 'forced' to accept and live in these properties, even if aware of the dangers.
    As for Housing - Accommodation shortages, - that lies squarely with Government and has done for decades, only made worse by their policies.


    The guy had been in there since 2013, housing benefit paid direct to landlord, so he didn't work, so he would be desperate for whatever housing and what ever landlord he could find to take him on

  • icon

    So sad for any loss of life RIP Philip Sheridan and Condolences to all his Family.
    I agree at the age of 32 years in the prime of his life he should be working unless there are other issues we don’t know about.

  • icon

    WHAT was the council property where all those people died grenfell tower nobody jailed there !!!!


    Yes mass man slaughter by the landlord and those responsible for renting the property, all neatly swept under the carpet and forgotten about, the law works in mysterious ways to suit those at the top

  • icon

    The Grenfell Tower terrible tragedy 72 lost their lives rip all and apologies for even mentioning it to all concerned .
    The Cladding was the wrong material and wrong specification for installation or it couldn’t shot straight up un-impeded there should have been a fire stop at every floor level to my mind.
    It was the Council’s mistake and under they watch, low &
    behold they turned around and attacked private landlords that had nothing to do with it.


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