Digger driver jailed for destroying Travelodge

Grant Prior 4 years ago

A man who drove a digger into a partly-built hotel in Liverpool causing £450,000 of damage has been jailed for five years and four months.

John Manley, 36, of Netherton, near Liverpool, drove the Bobcat digger into the partly-built Travelodge at Liverpool Innovation Park on Monday, 21 January 2019 following a row over owed wages.

Manley spoke to site manager Peter Robinson on the Friday before the incident, claiming he was owed around £600 in unpaid wages for ten days work.

Robinson promised to try and sort the issue and tried to calm Manley down, but on the following Monday, Manley spoke to him again and said he still had not been paid.

Shortly afterwards, Robinson heard a loud bang. Manley had got into the driver’s cabin of a Bobcat digger and driven it into the front of the hotel and then into the partly-constructed reception area.

He then turned the vehicle rounfd and appeared to be heading towards the car park on the site.

Builders tried to stop Manley before he did any more damage, but he swung the arm of the digger round so they had to jump out of the way.

He had locked himself into the cabin of the digger and finally came to a stop when he heard police sirens.

Kelly Ward of CPS Mersey-Cheshire said: “Manley was clearly in a very distressed state in the run up to this incident.

“He told Mr Robinson that he was in financial difficulties and, because of the apparent delay in receiving his wages, he couldn’t buy food or pay for electricity at his home.

“Mr Robinson was trying his best to help him but then Mr Manley decided to take matters into his own hands.

“By driving the digger into the hotel, he not only caused a considerable amount of damage and financial loss to the developers, but he put lives at risk on the site.

“He was at the wheel of a very powerful vehicle and was driving it in an erratic and dangerous way.

“Several people on the site tried to get him to stop but he did not. He only got out when he realised that the police were on their way.

“This has been a complex case for the Crown Prosecution Service as Mr Manley clearly has some problems to deal with. But his actions on that day developed into criminality and the CPS has to address that.

“There were also people who had jobs at the soon-to-be opened hotel and, because of what Mr Manley did, they could not start work for a further six weeks.”

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