Labourer, 35, who drove a digger into the front of a Travelodge is jailed for more than five years


Labourer, 35, who drove a digger into the front of a Travelodge causing £443,000 of damage because he was owed £600 in Christmas wages is jailed for more than five years

  • John Manley sentenced for five years and four months at Liverpool Crown Court
  • The labourer drove into reception of Travelodge hotel on January 21 last year 
  • He repeatedly smashed vehicle into building on day it was due to be completed
  • It followed a row with his employer for not being paid for his work at the site
  • Footage had showed the digger operator shouting about being owed money 
  • The father-of-two had previously entered a guilty plea on the first day of his trial

A labourer who drove a digger into the front of a Travelodge after a row for not being paid over Christmas has been jailed for five years and four months.  

John Manley, 36, caused £443,000 of damage following a rampage near the hotel in Liverpool after becoming incensed at not being paid for 12 days by his company, MF Groundworks, for his work as groundsman at the site. 

The ground worker and digger driver, from Netherton, Merseyside, was incensed as he was owed £600 in labour, that he had been waiting for for 10 days.

John Manley (mugshot above), 35, was sentenced to five years and four months at Liverpool Crown Court

Manley leaves Sefton Magistrates Court in February last year after being released on bail

John Manley (mugshot above), 35, was sentenced to five years and four months at Liverpool Crown Court today after driving his digger into the front of a Travelodge hotel

Shocking mobile phone video footage of the incident went viral.

Sentencing, at Liverpool Crown Court today, David Aubrey QC said Manley erupted ‘like a volcano’ after being forced to wait for the wages in January 2019.

He said: ‘This was a revenge attack and many people’s lives were endangered and put at risk and the damage on this occasion was considerable.

‘It was totally and utterly disproportionate concerning your wages.

‘The result of your acts was destruction in the extreme.’

The father-of-two, who had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts, damaging property reckless as to whether life was endangered and dangerous driving, was also banned from driving for four years.

Manley, who heard the verdict via video link from prison, covered his face with his hands and put his head on the table as the judge read the sentence.

His rampage caused staff at the multimillion pound, 77 room hotel at Liverpool Innovation Park to have to delay starting their new jobs by six weeks.

Footage showing the vehicle repeatedly smashing into the reception of the Travelodge (above) in Edge Lane, Liverpool, went viral online after the incident

The incident, which was filmed by several witnesses on mobile phones, saw the digger mount the hotel steps and enter the lobby through its glass entrance. 

Clips also showed the digger operator shouting about being owed money. 

The court heard he had seven previous convictions for criminal damage and a history of violent and impulsive behaviour.

Mr Sharman, defending Manley, had earlier told the court the dad had suffered a difficult upbringing – being threatened by his violent dad, who he described as ‘a drug dealer’ – and had tried to commit suicide on several occasions, the first aged 10.

He underwent a mental health assessment at Broadoak Hospital following his rampage on January 21 last year, where he was diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder.

Merseyside Police were called to the hotel shortly after 3pm on January 21 but said the driver left the vehicle and made off on foot in the direction of Edge Lane.

A force spokesman said one man experienced eye irritation due to exposure to diesel and was treated at the scene by North West Ambulance Service.

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