British holidaymaker 'with mental age of seven' faces nine years in jail for 'starting fire at Benidorm hotel'

  • Andrew Dmytruk, 51, has been on remand in Spain for almost two years
  • He is accused of starting blaze that left 13 pensioners in hospital
  • Campaigners say he has learning difficulties and is dependent on his 77-year-old mother
  • He is withdrawn, refuses food and attempted suicide in March

By Tom Worden

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A 51-year-old British holidaymaker who allegedly started a fire at a Benidorm hotel is facing nine years in jail.

Andrew Dmytruk, from Nottingham, started the blaze that left 13 guests in hospital after earlier setting fire to chairs, tables and a pub awning, prosecutors claimed.

But Dmytruk's lawyer said he has the mental age of a seven-year-old, and campaign group Fair Trials International have taken up his case.

Holiday horror story: Ambassador Hotel filled with black smoke after the fire and 13 guests were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation

Holiday horror story: Ambassador Hotel filled with black smoke after the fire and 13 guests were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation

The group's website says that Dmytruk 'has been heavily dependent on his 77-year-old mother throughout his adult life.'

 

He had been celebrating his birthday on holiday with his widowed mother, Doris O'Brien, at the time of the incident. She says he is innocent and did not start the hotel fire.

The three-star Ambassador hotel was evacuated after Dmytruk allegedly set fire to his room.

The 10-storey, 200-room hotel filled with black smoke and 13 Brits, mostly pensioners, were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

Dymtruk has been on remand in Spain for almost two years after he was arrested over the December 2010 fire.

Trapped in Spain: Andrew Dmytruk allegedly started a blaze in his hotel room in Benidorm, pictured, on his birthday

Trapped in Spain: Andrew Dmytruk allegedly started a blaze in his hotel room in Benidorm, pictured, on his birthday

Prosecutors said today that they would call for him to be jailed for nine years at his forthcoming trial.

Doctors said he is fit to stand trial for arson, but Fair Trials International said: 'Owing to complications from meningitis that he suffered as a baby, Andrew has the mental age of a young child.

'He has been refusing much of the food given to him and in March 2012 he attempted suicide, leaving him increasingly withdrawn and his mother increasingly worried.'

The group said Dmytuk has been denied bail largely because he is a foreigner.

Benidorm, near Alicante on Spain's east coast, attracts around a million Britons each year, making it one of our favourite holiday destinations.