A cartoonist started a fire at a Watford hotel as he sought revenge on an escort after a romance “failed to sparkle.”
London’s Appeal Court heard on Wednesday how John Graeme Davide, of Kinellan Court, Beaconsfield, wore 3D cinema specs and a pork pie hat for the arson attack.
The 48-year-old was jailed for two-and-a-half years at Harrow Crown Court on July 19 after acting out a “burning feeling of injustice that he had been exploited”.
Two weeks before the attack – on February 18 last year – Davide had met with an escort and paid £500 for overnight services.
Mr Justice Goss told the court: “It would seem the encounter was not as romantic as he had hoped it would be.”
He wanted to leave early, and demanded a partial refund, but was then left fearing for his safety after he became aware of another man in the bathroom.
Feeling ‘exploited by the escort and her pimp’ Davide ‘hatched a plan’ to get revenge.
He tracked her down and made another appointment as a new customer using an unregistered phone.
Davide then arranged to meet her at the Holiday Inn, in Clarendon Road, Watford, donned his disguise and went to the hotel.
He almost completely filled an Evian bottle with petrol before placing it outside the room where he thought the escort and her pimp were and set light to it.
The fire alarm went off, an evacuation began and a hotel guest was able to put the fire out with a nearby extinguisher.
The judge said no damage was caused and after being arrested, he told police he had been “motivated by a desire to frighten the escort and teach her a lesson”.
The judge who jailed him accepted he was remorseful and had long-standing emotional issues.
A psychiatric report described how he was suffering from a marked adjustment disorder at the time of the attack.
This was as a ‘direct result of his bad experience with the escort’ and led him to ‘think and behave in an uncharacteristic manner’ and be ‘preoccupied with a sense of injustice’.
He was ’emotionally vulnerable’ and this was worsened by life events including difficulties at work and with a relationship.
The psychiatrist concluded that the risk of further offending was ‘close to negligible’.
Sarah Forshaw QC, for Davide, argued that his jail term was far too tough and should have been suspended.