News

Man jailed for five years for driving digger into Travelodge

A digger driver who smashed up a Travelodge because he hadn’t been paid yet has been jailed for five years and four months.

John Manley, 36, caused a ‘trail of destruction’ when he drove a hydraulic digger through the front doors of the hotel in Liverpool Innovation Park on January 21 last year.

Video of what happened when viral, showing colleagues begging him to stop as he shouted: ‘All you had to do was pay me!’

He was owed £600 in wages at the time.

Man destroys Liverpool Travelodge with mini digger after wages weren’t paid

Manley was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court today for damaging property being reckless as to whether life is endangered.

He caused more than £443,000 of damage to the hotel, the day the bulding was due to be completed.

Sentencing him, Judge David Aubrey QC said: ‘You were intent on maximum damage and you intended to leave a trail of destruction.’

He said Manley, who pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial last September, caused ‘destruction in the extreme’ and put the safety of those inside and outside the building at risk.

The judge accepted Manley, who was reported to have an emotionally unstable personality disorder, had a number of issues in his life.

He said: ‘This grievance, or perceived grievance, in consequence of the fact you had not been paid your wages, may well have been the catalyst which led you on this day to erupt like a volcano.’

Trevor Parry-Jones, prosecuting, said Manley effectively destroyed the ceiling, wiring and structure of the building after he drove through the front doors of the 71-bedroom hotel, where people were still carrying out work.

Two colleagues eventually managed to disconnect the fuel line to the vehicle, leaving one of them temporarily blinded after diesel sprayed into his face, and Manley jumped out of the vehicle and scaled a 10ft wire fence to flee the scene.

Mr Parry-Jones said Manley caused ‘consequent misery’ for staff who had been due to start work at the hotel and were left in ‘limbo’ during the six-week delay in opening.

Manley, who has previous convictions for criminal damage, admitted himself to a mental health hospital after the crime and was arrested when he was released from there on February 14.

Mark Sharman, defending, said the father-of-two could not afford electricity or to buy food because he had not been paid, and therefore could not have his children, aged six and 11, to stay.

He said Manley’s childhood was ‘traumatic’ and ’emotionally scarring’ and both his parents were abusive.

Manley, of St Aidan’s Way in Netherton, was also disqualified from driving for four years and one month.