John Manley pleaded guilty to “damaging property and being reckless as to whether life was endangered”, and was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on 26 February 2020.
When sentencing Manley, judge David Aubrey QC said he was “intent on maximum damage and intended to leave a trail of destruction”.
Aubrey added: “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.”
Merseyside Police were called to the property at 3pm on 21 January 2019, after Manley crashed the digger through the main entrance of the property destroying the doors, reception desk and windows on the day construction was due to be completed – causing £440,000 worth of damage.
Ceiling fixer Samuel White told the BBC at the time that the driver was involved in a pay dispute over £600 with contractors at the hotel.
He said: “The handover was today. Everything completed, we’d put the last tile in, cleaned up and made sure everything was perfect. Then some idiot in a mini digger decided to drive through the middle of the building.
“There were loads of workers outside all gobsmacked, jaws to the floor wondering what’s going on. The site manager was running around like a headless chicken, he wasn’t happy at all.”
Liverpool Edge Lane Travelodge opened four months after the incident, and commenting on the opening at the time, Shakila Ahmed, Travelodge spokesperson, said: “To celebrate the opening of Liverpool Edge Lane Travelodge, our 581st hotel, we are very excited to have created an instagrammable postcard, paying homage to the city’s greatest assets.”