Abandoned hotel arsonist accused case’s significant step

An alleged firebug accused of lighting fires inside an abandoned, derelict hotel and torching skip bins is back before the court. VIDEO, PICS

Vandalism and fire damage at the Ambassador Motel on February 6 2024

Corey Whitmore, 28, was charged with arson after fires were lit at the abandoned hotel on Yaamba Road, Park Avenue, two nights in a row in February.

Whitmore was also charged with wilful damage, for allegedly setting skip bins on fire at Red Hill Homemaker’s Centre, half an hour before the second fire at the motel was reported.

Damage from the second fire at the Ambassador Motel on February 6 2024

Police will allege Mr Whitmore and a co-accused were captured on CCTV footage from the Emmaus College, Red Hill Homemaker’s Centre and the Ampol Service Station, according to police objection to bail documents.

In both instances, police allege Mr Whitmore and his co-accused were seen lingering around the area after the fires were lit and then “watching it develop as they walked away from the scene”.

Police allege the fires could have blown toward residential homes and the seriousness of the charges “great” given Mr Whitmore and his co-offender visited the motel on consecutive nights “with intent to destroy the building”.

Corey Whitmore, Rockhampton.

“The defendant’s actions have not only destroyed the hotel, but also caused a serious risk to the health and safety of nearby members of the public, and QFES officers who were called to put out each of the fires,” police claimed in the objection to bail.

“The risk to public safety was compromised two nights in a row and demonstrates the defendant and his associate’s lack of thought to the potential harm that could be caused to others.

“If QFES were unable to suppress the fire as quick as they did the very likelihood of the fire spreading into the neighbouring Emmaus College was high and to the neighbouring service stations.”

The motel has been closed since October 2023 after it sold for $1.44 million to national retail store Sydney Tools.

Rockhampton Regional Council has approved plans to build a new showroom on the site, demolishing the motel in the process.

The fires were reported to emergency services on the nights of February 5 and 6.

The first fire impacted two of the downstairs rooms and was put out by fire crews within five minutes.

The second fire involved the rooms on the second storey above where the first fire had broken out, affecting up to four rooms.

According to the court documents, police will allege Mr Whitmore, and the co-accused gained entry to room 10 of the motel and used an unknown ignition source to set fire to the front of the room in the vicinity of a single bed mattress and the fire spread to the wall.

The two were allegedly seen in the footage entering the property from the Main Street driveway at 7.37pm and at 7.41pm used the elevator to the highway overpass.

Rockhampton Magistrates Court heard an update in the case on May 15.

Defence lawyer Pierre Lammersdorf requested a committal hand up for June 6 and Mr Whitmore has been remanded in custody.

Mr Whitmore has not entered any pleas.

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