Historic hotel set ablaze for $3m insurance payout, court told

Historic hotel set ablaze for $3m insurance payout, court told | Insurance Business

Historic hotel set ablaze for $3m insurance payout, court told
A historic WA hotel was robbed and set on fire in collusion with the co-owner so he could pursue a $3 million insurance claim to support his struggling business, a Perth court has heard during a failed bail bid by one of the co-accused men.

Scott John Gay, appearing before the Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court, has alleged hotel owner Graeme Roderick Cooper of enlisting his help to stage a robbery and set fire to Premier Hotel in Albany to help his “struggling” business, ABC reported.

Two people were staying upstairs in the 125-year-old building in May when it was set on fire, causing an estimated $2 million in damages.

Gay, Cooper, and three others, were charged with attempted fraud, criminal damage by fire, and endangering the lives or safety of others, the report said.

Prosecutor Hannah Milligan said Gay then “engaged the assistance” of two other men, Karl Hutchinson and Christopher Lyndon Paterson, to perpetrate the crime “to facilitate an insurance claim.”

"A robbery was staged, the hotel set on fire [and that] resulted in Mr Cooper making a claim for $3 million," Milligan said.

The court has heard that the co-conspirators were paid $10,000 for their role in the scheme, and after which scheme Cooper had pursued the $3 million claim, including making a false statement to the police, Perthnow reported.

Ian Hope, Gay’s lawyer, has argued that his client was not present at the time of the staged robbery and arson, and that his alleged role was marginal, which was only to facilitate contact between Cooper and the other two men, ABC reported.

Magistrate Danielle Davies refused Gay’s bail application given the gravity of the charges.

The court heard that Cooper’s application for bail had already been refused, ABC reported.

All five accused are set to appear again in court next month.

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