British holidaymaker with 'mental age of child' faces prison over Benidorm hotel fire

Ruth Doherty
British holidaymaker with 'mental age of young child' faces years in prison over Benidorm hotel fire
British holidaymaker with 'mental age of young child' faces years in prison over Benidorm hotel fire

Stock photo, Benidorm: Getty

A 51-year-old British holidaymaker with the "mental age of a young child" is facing nine years in jail for allegedly starting a fire in a Benidorm hotel that left 13 guests in hospital.

Prosecutors claim that Andrew Dmytruk, from Nottingham, left 13 other British guests, mostly pensioners, needing treatment for smoke inhalation when he allegedly set fire to his room.

He had been celebrating his birthday with his mother, Doris O'Brien, at the three-star Ambassador hotel when the 10-storey building had to be evacuated in December 2010.

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

He has been on remand in Spain for almost two years, and the the group believe Dmytruk has been denied bail mainly because he is a foreigner.

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

Doctors said he is fit to stand trial for arson, but Fair Trials International says on its website:

"Owing to complications from meningitis that he suffered as a baby, Andrew has the mental age of a young child and has been heavily dependent on his 77-year-old mother throughout his adult life.

"Andrew has been detained from the date of his arrest, with no trial date in sight. Given his vulnerability, the ordeal of this extensive pre-trial detention has been predictably hard for him to bear.

"He has been refusing much of the food given to him and in March 2012 he attempted suicide, leaving him increasingly withdrawn and his mother increasingly worried.

"Fair Trials International is concerned that Andrew has been denied bail on several occasions, largely due to his status as a foreign national, and that he is finding it difficult to understand and cope with his situation, on account of his learning difficulties."

His mother told Fair Trials: "He is like a 10-year-old, quite jovial but when he gets mad he has childish tantrums. He can't understand why he is in jail and nor can I."

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