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'Get the negotiators. I want fags and I'm not coming down': Man jailed for six-hour roof stand-off; Leslie Podd climbed onto the roof of Manor House in Sunderland on October 31 last year and threw tiles and brickwork onto the pavement below, narrowly missing police officers and members of the public.

Byline: Katie Dickinson

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

Leslie Podd climbed onto the roof of Manor House inSunderlandon October 31 last year and threw tiles and brickwork onto the pavement below, narrowly missing police officers and members of the public.

Newcastle Crown Courtheard the 42-year-old was shouting: "Get the negotiators, I want fags. I'm Les Podd and I'm not coming down. I'm ready for you."

Prosecutor Vince Ward said Podd started removing the guttering after four hours, before eventually getting down after six hours and 15 minutes.

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

Patryk Mortimer, 39, was living in the property, on 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.

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Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court a large cordon was put in place and all emergency services were involved, including police, armed officers, negotiators, ambulance crews and fire appliances.

Mr Pallister added: "His actions were described as reckless and unpredictable."

Judge Amanda Rippon told the defendant: "I dread to think what the cost must have been to the public purse."

Podd, of no fixed address, was sentenced to a total of 32 months for a string of offences over two years. He pleaded guilty to criminal damage and affray in relation to the stand-off.

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He also admitted an assault on his ex-partner several weeks previously to the incident at Manor House. The court heard the woman went to bed and woke up to find Podd in her bedroom.

Mr Ward said her punched her repeatedly before she managed to attract a neighbour's attention by screaming and banging on the door.

The defendant was also sentenced for to having bladed articles in relation to two incidents - one in 2016 and one in 2018 - when he was caught carrying a knife.

On one occasion the court heard he was found on Durham Road in Sunderland with a kitchen knife "wrapped in a towel and stuck in the back of his trousers".


Leslie Podd

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Publication:The Chronicle (Newscastle upon Tyne, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 31, 2019
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