John Manley, 35, is now being treated for mental health issues after allegedly ploughing the construction vehicle into a newly built branch of the budget hotel in Liverpool
This is the first picture of the digger driver who crashed into a Travelodge hotel in a rampage.
John Manley, 35, is now being treated for mental health issues after allegedly ploughing the construction vehicle into a newly built Travelodge branch of the budget hotel over ‘unpaid wages’.
Footage of the incident, which left the hotel front in Edge Lane destroyed, went viral after being filmed by other workers on the site.
The rampage appeared to have been triggered after Mr Manley’s £600 wages were allegedly not paid on time by sub-contracting firm MF Constructions.
Yesterday his cousin, Jason Pellegrini, 43, revealed Mr Manley had been seeking mental health treatment for a number of weeks.
Today, his cousin reiterated that rumours circulating claiming the driver had actually been paid but had not checked his bank balance were false.
In a new statement to the Liverpool Echo, Mr Pellegrini said: “I would just like to stress what I stated in my local paper and clear something up.
“John Manley did not get paid on Monday, I know this as he does not have a bank account as he did not have the necessary identification, his wages, when paid, go into a family members’ account.
“This was checked on Monday and there was £20 donated by a friend.
“If, as has been reported, there was an alleged glitch in the system, why would the boss refuse to answer any calls or messages which John left?
“Should he not explain this to his workers who break their back in a physically demanding job and just want a honest wage?
“We would like to highlight the fact again we do not condone John’s actions for the simple fact someone could have been seriously injured or worse; pay disputes can be handled in different ways.
“Potentially if the unions had more power it could be resolved that way, however I doubt that will happen whilst we have the muppets in charge of our country.”
His cousin yesterday said the huge strain on mental health services in the local area meant Mr Manley failed to receive adequate help.
Mr Pellegrini said: “He’s had a very, very bad life. He’s not an angel; we don’t want to portray him as an angel…
“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.
“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.
“He told me he does not want any money, he just wants his mates to get paid and he wants to get well.”
He added that Mr Manley had “traumatic” childhood and only worked sporadically.
It was claimed that Mr Manley was sleeping on a relative’s couch in Merseyside in the lead up to the incident and was desperate after his employer MF Construction, allegedly failed to pay his £600 wages.
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.
“We wanted to get him a to a psychiatrist in Crosby but the waiting list is so long.
“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.”
According to Mr Pellegrini’s account, neither his boss or his employer would 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.”
Triton Construction, the main contractor for the Travelodge site, revealed there was no structural damage to the site.
Michael Parkinson, managing director of Triton, said: “It is our understanding that one of the labourers working for MF Construction, who were employed as the groundworks contractor for the project, had been waiting for his boss to arrive with his wages, which he told other workers on site were overdue.
“It is alleged that the labourer couldn’t track down the owner of MF Construction and he became increasingly frustrated.
“At approximately 3.00pm the labourer took it upon himself to drive a small mini excavator through the entrance screen of the hotel and subsequently caused damage to finishes within the reception.
“The labourer then ran from the scene and to our knowledge is being pursued by the police.
“Fortunately there appears to be no structural damage so repairs can be undertaken relatively quickly. “
Merseyside Police confirmed they located a man as part of the investigation into the incident, but stated he is not under arrest.