Man ‘burned down brothel after choking sex worker'

Chris Baynes
Love Machine is one of the best known venues in Sydney's red light district: Google Street View

A man allegedly burned down a brothel after attacking a sex worker who he claimed owed him money.

Michael Joel Kay, 30, is accused of setting fire to Love Machine in the Australian city of Sydney after punching, kicking and choking a sex worker.

Downing Centre District Court heard that he paid $800 (£470) for sex in a private upstairs room at the strip club and brothel in May 2013, according to

While having sex with Anne McGarry the court heard that he put his hands around her throat and began to choke her. She pushed him off and they got dressed.

As they left the room Mr Kay is alleged to have punched and kicked Ms McGarry and dragged her across the floor before choking her again.

She fought back and he ran upstairs, where he allegedly started a fire before security dragged him out.

Staff told investigators they heard him mumbling "something about burning the place down".

The fire badly damaged the building's upper floor (News Limited)

Flames spread across upper floor of the building, which suffered extensive smoke and water damage. No one was hurt.

Mr Kay told police he ran upstairs with the intention of "trashing s**t" but denied deliberately starting the fire.

The brothel is one of the most famous on the Kings Cross, the red light district of Sydney, where prostitution is legal.

The trial continues.