Hackney landlord given £11,000 court bill over life-threatening fire at his Hertfordshire pub

Ye Olde Axe in Hackney Road. Picture: Google Maps

Ye Olde Axe in Hackney Road. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

A Hackney landlord was slapped with an £11,000 court bill after starting a fire in his pub that could have killed three people in the flat above.

Thomas Melody, also known as the owner of Ye Olde Axe strip club in Hackney Road, admitted lighting the fire downstairs in the Boar’s Head in Bishops Stortford before leaving the building in March 2016.

The three people upstairs were lucky to escape before firefighters managed to contain the blaze.

Melody, 65, had been told a year earlier to install a fire alarm but crews found it had been disabled and fire doors were not working properly.

On April 4 at Wood Green Crown Court Melody pleaded guilty to contravening Article 8 of The Regulatory Reform Order regarding fire safety precautions.

The court heard he treated fire safety officers with “a measure of disdain and possibly arrogance”. Melody’s defence lawyer said he was “highly ashamed” of what he did.

In sentencing, judge John Dodd said: “It seems you had warning shots fired across your bows in 2014/2015 when fire officers visited. It is unfortunate you seem to have treated those public servants with a measure of disdain and possibly arrogance as they pointed out your duties.”

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Melody was fined £1,000, made to pay £10,000 in costs to Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and a £100 victim surcharge.

The Fire and Rescue Service’s Darryl Keen said: “The occupants were extremely fortunate to escape injury or even death in the absence of automatic fire detection. We hope this case will serve as a warning to other businesses.”