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Groom admits he set hotel fire during wedding party

An angry hotel guest last week pleaded guilty to starting a fire at the hotel where he was celebrating his own wedding, the UK’s Telegraph reports.

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The fire – started at about 5 a.m. on Sunday, June 19 – caused about $9 million of damage to the Peckforton Castle Hotel in Cheshire, U.K., the story says. The hotel is “the only intact medieval style Castle in the country,” its website says.

The blaze caused nearly 200 people including 11 children to be evacuated. Nearly 100 firefighters were required to extinguish it.

The night before the fire, Max Kay, 36, and his new wife had been heard arguing with the hotel’s owners about a late payment for the wedding, the Telegraph says. Later that same night, they again argued with the owner about a bar bill.

No one was hurt in the fire, but prosecutor Duncan Bould said that luck played a role in the outcome, the Telegraph reports.

“Fortunately, and it is good fortune, the premises was equipped with a very efficient fire alarm and the combination of that and the staff meant that all the guests were able to be evacuated,” he told the court.

Kay’s lawyer Patrick Thompson said that his client committed the crime when he was “near bankrupt” and under significant stress.

The court heard that Kay was said to have consumed large amounts of vodka that day. Also, the hotel’s closed-circuit TV system caught Kay on tape going in and out of the drawing room where the blaze started. He’ll be sentenced on Jan. 3.

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