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Israeli man acquitted of $150,000 in damage to London hotel room in insanity plea

Ofer Tsofan, 52, smashed furniture and started fires in suite, assaulted arresting police officers; court accepts defense of acute manic episode

General view of Southwark Crown Court, in London, March 24, 2020. (Alberto Pezzali/AP)
General view of Southwark Crown Court, in London, March 24, 2020. (Alberto Pezzali/AP)

An Israeli business executive who caused over £100,000 worth of damage at a top London hotel was found on Wednesday not guilty of the charges against him by reason of insanity.

Southwark Crown Court accepted the defense of Ofer Tsofan, 52, that he had suffered an acute manic episode. The Israeli had a history of mental illness and was assessed by experts.

A member of Tsofan’s family was in court during the hearing where he denied charges of arson, criminal damage to property and two counts of assault on emergency workers.

Prosecutor Christopher Jenkins told the court that “it is not disputed that Mr. Tsofan committed the acts that he is accused of.”

A jury found him not guilty of all charges by reason of insanity. At an assessment, Tsofan had told a psychiatrist he wanted to build a city for his family and transgender people to live in peace, according to UK’s Daily Mail.

The incident began when on July 24, 2021, security staff at the hotel noticed Tsofan demanding that he could speak with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as well as asking that his family be flown to him from Israel on a private jet, according to the report.

Ofer Tsofan (LinkedIn)

Tsofan cursed at staff who called a friend of his to check on his wellbeing. When Tsofan raged at that person for two hours, the hotel called police, the court heard.

Officers arrived in the evening and though Tsofan let them into his suite, he shouted abuse and demanded to see his lawyer.

Tsofan, who was wearing only black pants and had covered parts of his body in shaving cream, then locked himself in a room, where he set fires and smashed furniture. he also threw objects at police, and one officer was lightly hurt by a bottle that smashed against a doorframe.

During his rampage, he broke three antique Chinese chests, a music system, two televisions, and several glass tabletops as well as other furniture. Ketchup stains damaged artwork, furniture upholstery, and wallpaper panels while the fires he lit set off the sprinkler system, causing water damage.

He was eventually arrested and taken to hospital.

The total damage was later assessed at £108,982 (approximately $150,000).

During the hearing, it was revealed that Tsofan has bipolar affective disorder and in 2020 had bought 50 Tesla cars.

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