The boss of a failed restaurant accused of attempted murder told a court he could have killed two of his staff if he really wanted to.
Ahmet Dincer, 63, the former owner of the Don Diego tapas restaurant, denies trying to kill a chef and waitress who worked at his Sutton Coldfield restaurant in the West Midlands.
The Turkish-born restauranteur also denies two charges of attempted arson with intent to endanger life.
Facing trial at Birmingham Crown Court, Dincer, of Chances Street, Birmingham, said he wanted to "beat up" chef Carlos Tirado and scare waitress Monica Lopez.
Giving evidence he told the court he planned the attack out of revenge because he believed the pair were responsible for ruining his business.
They, along with other workers, quit the restaurant on the eve of the Valentine's Day weekend in protest over unpaid wages.
The mass walkout forced the restaurant to close its doors on 12 February.
Dincer, who considered the chef and waitress the ringleaders of the revolt lured them to a meeting in an office above Don Diego at 11am on 8 March promising to pay their wages. On their arrival he launched a baseball bat attack on Tirado hitting the chef around the head.
He then attacked his former employee with CS spray and fired two or three ball bearings at him from an air pistol.
Captured on CCTV and shown to the jury, Dincer hit the chef so hard the bat broke in two.
However Tirado remained standing and repelled Dincer, who was also armed with two knives, by pelting him which chairs, bottles of wine and wine racks.
He and Lopez then managed to flee and raise the alarm at another restaurant next door.
Giving evidence in court, Dincer denied intending to murder the pair.
Answering questions under cross examination from prosecutor Malcolm Morse, Dincer said; "Let's not cheat anyone here; if I wanted to kill them both I could have.
"If I wanted to do it I would have supplied a gun and killed them both, I knew where they lived. I would have waited outside their homes and did it but I never did because that was not my intention."
Asked what his intentions were he said he wanted to beat up Tirado and scare Lopez.
"I was angry and I wanted to do something, that's the maximum I could do. I am not a killer."
The court heard after paying £70,000 to take over the business Dincer spent a further £100,000 keeping the restaurant afloat over nine months.
In court it was heard Dincer's estranged 31-year-old wife had been skimming money from the till totalling over £4,000.
But Dincer blamed his staff for destroying his business and described Tirado and Lopez as "the head of the snake".
He told the jury: "They are both the head of the snake but the big snake is Carlos. This was a plot, I had every right to be angry."
After attacking the pair Dincer was seen pouring accelerant around the office and attempting to ignite it with a lighter.
Earlier in the day he poured around two litres of diesel in the restaurant which he also tried to ignite.
Failing to start the fire, he returned to his home address which he had also doused in diesel.
When arrested by armed police shortly after, the house was found to be drenched in accelerant with a gas powered barbecue placed in the living room.
Nine petrol bombs, along with an air pistol, were found in his car parked outside his address.
Mr Morse accused Dincer of plotting to knock Tirado and Lopez out before burning down the restaurant with them inside.
He replied; "That is insane, insane, I am not a killer."
Dincer has pleaded guilty to an offence of wounding with intent and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause harm to another.
By court reporter
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