Ex-girlfriend says workman who ruined hotel ‘doesn’t deserve sympathy’

Ex-girlfriend says digger driver who destroyed Travelodge over £600 ‘unpaid’ wages ‘doesn’t deserve sympathy’ as she slams the £5,000 crowdfunders raised for him

  • John Manley, 35, ploughed plant hire vehicle into Travelodge hotel in Liverpool
  • One person needed treatment by paramedics after wrecking spree on Monday
  • Mr Manley was said to have been desperate for wages to be paid following work 
  • Cousin says digger driver has been trying to get help for mental health issues 

John Manley, 35, ploughed the plant hire vehicle into the Travelodge budget hotel

The ex-girlfriend of a workman who smashed his digger into a hotel over unpaid wages lashed out after a GoFundMe page was set up in his honour.

The unnamed woman, claimed ‘people shouldn’t feel sorry’ for John Manley, 35, after he ploughed his vehicle through a Travelodge in Netherton, Merseyside earlier this week. 

Manley carried out the damaging stunt after he claimed he was owed £600 by his employers, and a GoFundMe page has since raised £5,000 for the digger driver.

But, according to The Sun, his ex said in a social media post on Thursday: ‘people shouldn’t feel sorry for him or be paying into this GoFundMe.

‘He doesn’t deserve a second thought off anybody let alone sympathy!’  

The post has since been deleted and most of its content can’t be published for legal reasons.

Earlier this week it was revealed Manley had been trying to get mental health treatement for weeks before his rampage, his family say. 

One person needed treatment by paramedics after the wrecking spree in Liverpool on Monday afternoon – and a police investigation has been launched.

Mr Manley’s cousin Jason Pellegrini, 43, told how he was desperate for the wages to be paid following his work on the site at Liverpool Innovation Park.

He told the Liverpool Echo: ‘He’s had a very, very bad life. He’s not an angel; we don’t want to portray him as an angel.

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‘We have been trying to get him help but there’s such a long waiting list. It’s not down to the health care professionals, but it’s a lack of resources in Sefton. 

‘We are not condoning what he did at all; someone could have been seriously hurt and he’s not a national hero like some people have been making out.

‘He is very troubled and it’s something when he has had to do what he did to get the kind of help he needs.

The digger smashes into the Travelodge hotel in Liverpool, breaking the front doors

‘He told me he does not want any money, he just wants his mates to get paid and he wants to get well.’

Mr Pellegrini denied reports that his cousin had been paid when he trashed the hotel, but had not checked his bank account, saying he does not have an account.

He said that Mr Manley, originally from London, but who has been living in the Sefton area for several years, had been displaying worrying symptoms in recent months and his family had been worried.

Mr Pellegrini said: ‘He would ring the GP at 8am when it opens, and there would already be 37 people in the waiting line for an appointment. 

The determined driver rolls up the steps for a second time after smashing the glass doors

‘We wanted to get him to a psychiatrist in Crosby but the waiting list is so long.’

He said Mr Manley had experienced a ‘traumatic’ childhood and had worked sporadically.

He said: ‘I know he was technically of no fixed abode and could not claim benefits, so when he didn’t work he literally had nothing.

‘He had no money for gas, electric or food. He had not been paid on the Friday and he was trying to call his boss all weekend. His boss would not answer the phone.

‘I think in the end he just snapped. He said to me he would not have done it if he’d had an explanation.’

In astonishing video footage of the rampage, colleagues of the man – named only as ‘John’ – appeared to cheer him on, with one shouting, ‘That’s what happens when you don’t get paid.’ 

The destroyed reception of the Travelodge on Edge Lane, Liverpool, pictured yesterday

But other workers seemed to be trying to stop the destruction.

The vehicle could be seen mounting the steps in front of the hotel at Liverpool Innovation Park on Edge Lane, between the city’s Wavertree and Fairfield suburbs.

After reaching the top of the steps, the arm of the digger was sent crashing through the glass at the top of the door before tearing through the entrance.

A few moments later, the digger briefly rolled back out of the entrance and down the steps, but the determined operator headed back up and through the front door.

Once inside the reception of the hotel, the digger driver then proceeded to crash into walls and the front desk, and swing his bucket around, ripping down part of the ceiling.

Once the digger came to a standstill, a worker could be seen going over to the driver and shaking his hand. 

Parts of the ceiling and the entire front door can be seen broken and laying on the floor

The driver could be heard swearing and telling a colleague he is owed £600.

Last night, it was claimed the workman who rampaged with the digger had been paid but did not realise.

It wsa said that he was among workers at the site employed by subcontractor MF Construction, who were meant to receive their wages last Friday but a banking glitch meant they were not paid until Monday.

It was claimed the labourer tried but failed to track down his boss and ‘became increasingly frustrated’, before climbing into the digger.

One fellow workman told The Sun: ‘The money was supposed to go into his bank on Friday. But there was some kind of glitch and it didn’t go in until Monday.

‘He didn’t check his bank account and didn’t realise he’d actually been paid. That’s why he went mental and wrecked the place.’ 

Travelodge’s website says the hotel is ‘opening soon’ but the damage could set back plans

Some of the ceiling panels are ripped off during the incident, left and pictures of the damage, right, show the extent of the damage 

Another builder said: ‘I’ve been told the lad thought he’d not got his money. But it just went into his bank account late and he didn’t check his account on the Monday.’

Samuel White, 24, who had worked on the wrecked ceiling, said yesterday: ‘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.’

MF Construction’s owner, Neil Freeman, was unavailable for comment.

On the Travelodge website, the hotel is listed as ‘opening soon’, but the extensive damage could now set back their plans.

Police were called to the scene at 3pm on Monday but the digger driver had already left the vehicle and ran from the area.

Metal fences can be seen around the steps leading to the reception as workers checked the site after the incident

Michael Parkinson, managing director of Triton Construction, which is building the Travelodge, said of the incident: ‘It’s an act of madness, really.

‘The individual concerned was employed by one of our subcontractors and had worked for them for a couple of weeks.

‘The damage will be covered by insurance and is limited to one room only. There is no structural damage.’

Merseyside Police were yesterday trying to trace the digger driver.

A spokesman said: ‘A report was received that the digger was being driven into the entrance of the Travelodge building in the Liverpool Innovation Park.

‘The driver then left the vehicle and made off on foot. One man experienced eye irritation due to exposure to diesel and was treated at the scene by North West Ambulance Service.’

The force has not yet reported making any arrests.

Travelodge said it was unable to comment due to the live police investigation, adding that it has not yet taken possession of the site, which is still in the hands of developers. 

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