Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Mount Murray fire: Roofer spared jail over £17m hotel blaze

Mount Murray hotel fire
Image caption The fire caused damage estimated at £17m at the Mount Murray Hotel

A roofer who caused a major fire at a Manx hotel when he used a blowtorch to dry out timbers has "come within a whisker" of being jailed.

The blaze caused damage worth £17m to the Mount Murray Hotel and Country Club in 2013, Douglas Courthouse was told.

Roy Cross, 64, of Santon, was given 240 hours of community service after being found guilty of three "foreseeable" health and safety breaches.

No-one was harmed in the blaze and the hotel has since closed.

Image caption Deemster Main-Thompson told Cross the fire was "wholly foreseeable"

Sentencing Cross, Deemster Dermot Main-Thompson told him he had narrowly escaped a jail term.

"You introduced flammable material to a roof and then introduced a naked flame. The consequences, in my judgement, were wholly foreseeable."

The hotel, which included a golf club, was developed by the late island-based tycoon Albert Gubay in the 1990s.

The fire engulfed the whole of the main accommodation block's roof destroying more than 90 rooms and resulting in 90 members of staff losing their jobs.

Speaking after the hearing, the Isle of Man government's senior health and safety inspector Robert Greaves said Cross's failings "meant the safety of up to 100 hotel guests and staff were put at risk".

"Today's sentencing will help remind companies of the importance of suitable risk assessments," he added.

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Media captionEyewitnesses described the fire as an "inferno" which engulfed the hotel roof "within minutes"

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