Wales

Aberystwyth hotel fire: Man admits killing person in blaze

Damion Harris Image copyright Damion Harris/Facebook
Image caption Damion Harris pleaded guilty to manslaughter

A man has admitted killing a hotel guest after setting fire to the building he was staying in.

Belgrave House Hotel in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, was burned down last July and the remains of Lithuanian Juozas Tunaitis were found two months later.

Damion Harris, 31, of Llanbadarn Fawr, admitted manslaughter, arson and inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Mr Tunaitis was staying in the hotel while working as a fire safety officer at Aberystwyth University.

The case at Swansea Crown Court was adjourned for sentencing.

Image copyright Twitter/@MAWWChrisDavies
Image caption Many people jumped across balconies to escape to neighbouring properties

The guilty pleas were accepted by the prosecution, however the basis for those pleas has not been agreed.

The judge gave Harris until Tuesday morning to decide whether or not he wanted to agree with the prosecution's version of events.

If he does not agree, the judge will need to hear the evidence before deciding on the appropriate sentence.

The process, known as a Newton hearing, could involve calling witnesses and commissioning psychiatric reports.

Image copyright Keith Morris
Image caption The Belgrave House Hotel was badly damaged in the blaze

The seafront hotel was set alight in the early hours of 25 July and spread to adjoining properties.

Nine adults and three children were rescued from the hotel, but 33 people were affected in total.

The hotel's owner Emyr Davies said the fire was a "frightening experience".

Twelve fire crews were sent to tackle the fire, and it was weeks before they could gain access to the hotel itself after both internal floors of the three-storey building collapsed in the fire.

Image copyright Twitter/@conradscab
Image caption The fire could be seen from across the town

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