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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 July, 2003, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Hammam ex-minder's hearing
Neil MacNamara
Neil MacNamara admitted setting off a fire alarm
A former bodyguard of Cardiff City owner Sam Hammam is to appear before magistrates after admitting setting off a hoax fire alarm at the hotel where a rival team were sleeping.

Neil MacNamara, 39, set off the early-morning alarm in QPR's hotel, the day they were playing Cardiff in a Division Two play-off final.

But MacNamara, of Nantgarw, south Wales, has insisted that the offence was not football-related which is what the new hearing will decide.

MacNamara has admitted causing criminal damage and making a false and malicious alarm of fire at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, south Wales at 0400BST on 25 May.

He will appear at a hearing at Abergavenny Magistrates Court on 15 August, when it will be debated whether the offence was football-related.

Celtic Manor Hotel
QPR players stayed at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport

His defending solicitor Stephen Jones told Newport Magistrates court on Wednesday: "There are no witnesses to prove his actions were soccer-related."

If it is proved he intended to wake up the QPR team, magistrates have the power to impose a long ban from football matches on MacNamara.

MacNamara was allowed unconditional bail until the hearing in Abergavenny.

Some QPR players were woken up by the alarm, but they were not among the 200 guests who had to leave their rooms at the hotel.

False name

Queens Park Rangers lost the Second Division play-off match 1-0 in extra time at the Welsh capital's Millennium Stadium.

MacNamara was seen on CCTV at the hotel setting off the fire alarm and police later discovered he had booked into the hotel under a false name.

MacNamara worked as a personal minder to Bluebirds owner Sam Hammam on his walkabouts around the club's Ninian Park pitch.

But he was sacked when he was jailed for six months for possessing a CS gas canister and driving a stolen 22,000 sports car.

He also has a previous conviction for assaulting causing actual bodily harm when in July 1996 he attacked another man in Mill Lane, Cardiff.

He was given a football banning order for a year for using threatening words and behaviour in March 2000.




SEE ALSO:
Call for promotion party
26 May 03  |  South East Wales
Hammam eyes transfer market
26 May 03  |  Eng Div 2
Hammam minder sent to jail
21 May 02  |  Wales


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