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Worker torched Faversham cafe because of HIS promotion

mickey's diner
mickey's diner

Daniel Freeman torched Mickey's Diner after getting promoted

by Paul Hooper

A Faversham man who torched a cafe on the A2 because of a grudge has been jailed for five years.

Daniel Freeman, 23, wanted revenge because his bosses at Mickey’s Diner, in Upper Harbledon, had promoted him.

Canterbury Crown Crown heard he resented the extra responsibility and decided to set the building alight - causing £180,000 damage.

The blaze at the eatery - close to a petrol station - also put six people out of work.

Judge Simon James told Freeman: “This was an offence that was committed out of spite and revenge.

"It’s motive was to punish your former employer for the fact you felt that you had been asked to do work beyond your capability.

“Feeling angry that she was not taking your stress and anxiety seriously, you quite deliberately and methodically set about burning down her business premises.”

The judge said his reaction had been “wholly disproportionate” and one that could have had catastrophic consequences.

He added: “As it was the damage that you caused reduced the premises to a state where they could no longer be used.

“You caused over £180,000 worth of damage and led to the business being closed until today and at least six people losing their livelihoods.

"The offence was committed in breach of trust and was premeditated.”

Canterbury Crown Court
Canterbury Crown Court

Daniel Freeman was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court

Alice Dobbie, prosecuting, said Freeman - who had changed him name from Burton for family reasons - started the fire on July 30 last year.

A few days later, Freeman, of Buttermere, Faversham, went into a police station and confessed to going to the restaurant when it was closed, taking £800 from the till and then setting it alight.

He later texted the manageress and apologised, promising to hand himself in at a local police station.

The prosecutor said one of the owners, Michael Schenbri, said the fire had left the family £50,000 out of pocket and “their lives in tatters”.

Ged O’Connor, defending, said: “He has expressed deep regret for what he did.”

The judge told Freeman: "Had this fire spread to the petrol station next door it could have been a major life-threatening incident.

"You were so wound up in the bubble of your own self pity that you gave no thought the potential consequence to your action.”

Freeman pleaded guilty to arson and theft.

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