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Four Britons accused of starting Magaluf hotel blaze appear in court

Four young British tourists who started a massive fire at a Magaluf hotel have pleaded with a judge to grant them bail.

Brandon McCahill, 21; James Brown, 21; Lauren Smith, 19; and Georgia James, also 19 caused £125,000 damage to the BH Mallorca Hotel in the fire.

The island’s Civil Guard said they were messing with a sleeping friend by burning his feet with a cigarette lighter and aerosol can in a drunken prank.

Brandon McCahill faces court in Palma for setting fire to a hotel in Magaluf wearing the same clothes as when he arrested

Two floors of the hotel had to be evacuated – and seven tourists trapped on balconies rescued by firefighters – after the fire broke out around 8pm on Sunday.

The group was brought to court in Palma on Tuesday for a hearing where a judge will decide whether to grant them bail or remand them in custody.

They were handcuffed and thought to be wearing the same clothes as when they were arrested, with McCahill’s shirt printed with ‘dope drugs’ on the front.

None of the firebugs have been charged with a crime as in Spain this is only done just before the trial, which could be months away.

It was not yet known what the result of the hearing, held in private without a gallery, was and whether they will be set free until trial or able to return home. 

Two rooms were totally destroyed in the blaze and the operation to put the fire out lasted for about an hour.

Lauren Smith, 19; and Georgia James, 19, were ushered into the courtroom first on Tuesday where they would plea with a judge to grant them bail

Lauren Smith, 19; and Georgia James, 19, were ushered into the courtroom first on Tuesday where they would plea with a judge to grant them bail

James Brown, 21, (pictured) and the others started the fire by messing with a sleeping friend by burning his feet with a cigarette lighter and aerosol can in a drunken prank

James Brown, 21, (pictured) and the others started the fire by messing with a sleeping friend by burning his feet with a cigarette lighter and aerosol can in a drunken prank

McCahill is a keen amateur footballer from Consett, County Durham, now thought to be living in Newcastle.

The left-footer is the star of several YouTube videos where he can be seen showing off his skills on an indoor five-a-side pitch as well as outside on a full-size pitch.

He describes himself on social media as single and admits to being a fan of LADbible.

One of his recent Facebook posts, titled ‘Ahhh living the life’ shows a man lying face-down on the floor with his bare bottom exposed and his trousers round his ankles.

James Brown, known to friends as Jay, is also believed to be from the same town in County Durham as McCahill.

Footage from the scene showed terrified Brits running for their lives as thick black smoke and flames engulfed one of the apartments.

Brandon McCahill (right) and James Brown were named as two of the British tourists involved

Footage from the scene shows smoke billowing out of the front door of the affected apartment

Footage from the scene shows smoke billowing out of the front door of the affected apartment

Holidaymakers could be heard screaming to others ‘Get out’ over the sound of breaking glass.

No one was badly hurt in the drama, although several people including three Civil Guard officers had to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters, who used extendable ladders to bring several holidaymakers to safety, have been praised for their speedy actions.

A spokesman for the Civil Guard, in a statement confirming the arrests of the four Brits, said: ‘Firefighters, local police and Civil Guard were mobilised on Sunday evening.

‘Once they reached the hotel they saw flames leaping from one of the rooms via the balcony and saw the blaze was affecting other parts of the complex.

‘Realising the lives of people staying at the hotel were in real danger, more than 100 guests in the block affected by the fire were evacuated.

Flames can be seen licking up the side of the building and reaching as high as the veranda above

The BH Hotel Mallorca is a popular choice with British holidaymakers and is rumoured to have sustained around £125,000 worth of damage

The BH Hotel Mallorca is a popular choice with British holidaymakers and is rumoured to have sustained around £125,000 worth of damage

‘Civil Guard investigators began probing the case of the fire.

‘After interviewing several witnesses they discovered that in the room where the fire started there were two women and three men, that one of them was asleep and that the other four were bothering him using a lighter and an aerosol on his feet.

‘Specialists from the Civil Guard Criminalistic Laboratory subsequently confirmed the fire had been started and situated the seat of the fire at the end of the mattress.

‘The fire completely destroyed one room and affected others.

‘Experts are still evaluating the cost but it will be in excess of €200,000 because of the repair work, cleaning and losses that will be caused by rooms being out of action and possible compensation that will need to be paid to those holidaymakers affected by the fire.’

‘They are thought to have been messing around with an aerosol and a lighter.’

A source close to the ongoing criminal investigation into the blaze said the British women weren’t staying in the room where the fire started,

It is thought they met the men in Magaluf and didn’t know them before they arrived. 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk