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Man who trashed room in Armagh hotel ‘doesn’t normally drink vodka’

There was rubbish everywhere and towels and clothing strewn across the room...the TV had been moved, the lampshade was bent, there was damage to the light switch and vomit on the floor

Armagh Magistrates' Court
Armagh Courthouse

A man who trashed a room and was abusive to staff at the Armagh City Hotel has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Despite pleading guilty to one charge of criminal damage, William Ward (27), of Cherry Close, Dunmurry, maintained that he “wasn’t there”, but would take responsibility for the damage.

He appeared for sentencing before Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry Courthouse on Tuesday, where he was handed a three month prison sentence, suspended for one year.

He was also given 26 weeks to pay £590 in compensation to the hotel.

The court was told that police were called to the Armagh City Hotel on February 11 this year following a report of criminal damage.

They spoke with the manager, who identified the defendant and said he had been abusive to night staff when ordering room service.

The manager spoke to the defendant the next day about his behaviour and noticed broken cups in the entrance to the room. He then told the defendant he had 30 minutes to leave, forbidding him from staying a further night.

After 15 minutes, the defendant went to reception and said he could not pay for damages as the hotel could not accept a bank transfer.

The manager then returned to the room to carry out a further inspection, where he discovered it to be in “complete disarray”.

There was rubbish everywhere and towels and clothing strewn across the room. The TV had been moved and the lampshade was bent, along with damage to the light switch and vomit on the floor.

Ward was then informed the damage would cost £590 due to to the room needing to be taken out of service for industrial cleaning.

He had no means to pay this and was arrested for criminal damage.

Speaking in Ward’s defence, a lawyer told the court that his client was accepting responsibility for the damage, but not that he committed the offences stating, “he booked these rooms for family members and there was a family event on” and that he “wasn’t there”.

It was added that Ward, who has a record of 11 previous convictions, was subject to a probation order made in Lisburn Magistrates’ Court in 2021.

Making further submissions, the defence lawyer stated that Ward had a “difficult upbringing with significant trauma” and suffers from depression and anxiety.

District Judge Anne Marshall said: “You pleaded guilty to this offence and by doing so you accepted the Prosecution version of events. I have a statement here from the manager at the hotel who says he was speaking to you and you said you were embarrassed and you don’t normally drink vodka.”

She added that she was treating the argument that he only accepted responsibility because he booked the room with, “a very high degree of scepticism”.

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