Man jailed after six-hour rooftop stand-off where he demanded police 'get negotiators, I want some fags'

A serial criminal staged a six-hour rooftop "protest" over conditions at bedsit accommodation three days before a fatal fire at the building.

Friday, 30th August 2019, 16:43 pm
Leslie Podd climbed onto the roof of the three-storey building and pelted roof tiles and brickwork onto the pavement below, where a crowd had started to gather.

Leslie Podd climbed onto the roof of the three-storey, multi occupancy Manor House in Easington Lane and pelted rooftiles and brickwork onto the pavement below, where a crowd had started to gather.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 42-year-old shouted at police "get negotiators, I want some fags, I'm Les Podd, I'm not coming down" during the prolonged incident, in the early afternoon of October 31 last year.

The court heard a man died in a fire at the former care home just three days later.

Leslie Podd climbed onto the roof of the three-storey building and pelted roof tiles and brickwork onto the pavement below, where a crowd had started to gather.

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Patryk Mortimer, 39, was living in the property, which is off High Street in Easington Lane, when a fire broke out in the early hours of Saturday, November 3, last year.

He was found unconscious inside the building and pronounced dead a short time later.

Detectives from Northumbria Police initially launched a murder investigation after it was found the fire had been started deliberately.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court Podd's six-hour stand-off involved all emergency services, including police, armed officers, negotiators, ambulance crews and fire appliances.

Mr Pallister added: "Some of the objects he was throwing landed near members of the public. Police negotiators did attend but efforts to talk him down were unsuccessful, to begin with."

The court heard four-hours into the stand-off, Podd started to remove guttering, which he also threw down.

He finally got off the roof at 8.15pm. Podd was arrested and was still in police custody when the fatal fire started.

Podd, of no fixed address, admitted affray and criminal damage.

He also admitted assault after he turned up at a former partner's home as she slept and attacked her in front of her child. Podd also pleaded guilty to having bladed articles in relation to two incidents when he was caught carrying a knife.

Judge Amanda Rippon sentenced Podd to 32 months behind bars with a lifelong restraining order to keep him away from his ex.