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Prison Sentences Demanded in Tampere Pizzeria Arson

The District Court of Pirkanmaa has raised charges against five people in connection with the fire in a Tampere restaurant last November. The court has also heard claims for damages to the tune of several million euros.

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Image: YLE Tampere

Two of the accused have confessed to perpetrating the crime and two have denied their guilt. The fifth, charged with gross negligence in reporting a crime, claims that he did not believe that the fire would actually occur.

Three people, all under the age of 30, died in the blaze.

The brother of the pizzeria’s owner admitted that arson was his idea.

“When he was remanded for the deed and I met him in prison for the first time, he was quite upset over what had happened and its consequences. He had decided already then that he would clarify precisely what he had done,” says his lawyer Kaarle Gummerus.

Insurance fraud charges are also appropriate, Gummerus notes.

“He invested money in this restaurant business and suffered financial problems. He needed to somehow escape this situation and attempted to do so in a way that would bring insurance compensation.”

Pizzeria owner denies charges

For his part, the owner of the burnt down restaurant denies his involvement in this plan. For him, the prosecution demands alternative sentencing for assisting a crime, rather than for aggravated vandalism.

Two people are charged for actually starting the fire. One of them confessed to the crime, while another one is denying his guilt.

District Prosecutor Jouko Nurminen demands an unconditional prison sentence.

“I have not yet concluded consideration on the requested terms of imprisonment, but the most serious crime among these charges is aggravated vandalism, for which the maximum penalty is ten years in prison.”

Damages claims astronomical

The defence also approves of a prison sentence.

“Loss of human life and destruction of a large amount of property make it necessary to accept such a punishment—one is prepared for that,” defence lawyer Gummerus says.

Claims for damages amount to millions of euros. It is however unlikely that the money can be obtained from the accused.

“None of the defendants can under any circumstances repay this sum in its entirety—it will be good if they can pay a fraction of it,” Gummerus says.

Sources: YLE

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