Hotelier Shirley Bothroyd has been jailed for 22 weeks for a string of assaults against her employees and a police officer.
Bothroyd, 59, bought the Bay hotel in Teignmouth, Devon four years ago after a career as a human rights lawyer, Newton Abbot Magistrates' Court heard on Monday (2 October).
The 18-bedroom hotel was closed by emergency services in July following several incidents, including the collapse of three ceilings and a fire in the penthouse suite.
In court, Bothroyd admitted grabbing her chef Pauline Cave from behind by her hair, pulling her to the floor and repeatedly slapping her face on 25 June.
She also pleaded guilty to using abusive and threatening behaviour towards her receptionist Hannah Glover on 6 June. Prosecutor Shaun Tipton said Bothroyd threw wine in Glover's direction, followed by the wine glass which missed her and smashed on the floor.
One charge of assaulting a female police officer was dropped, but Bothroyd faced four other assault charges. Allegations included throwing glasses and a ceramic plant pot during alcohol-fuelled, foul-mouthed rages in June and July.
Christian Holland, who was the hotel manager and long-term friend of Bothroyd, was the alleged victim of two of the assault charges. He said Bothroyd accused him of wanting to take over the hotel.
Bothroyd told the court she bought the £1.75m hotel in Powderham Terrace so she could leave it to her autistic son, who is nearly 29 years old and has no profession.
PC Laing was called by Boythroyd to the hotel in the early hours of 25 July. She had complained she was being threatened by her former fiancé but was very drunk and turned aggressive when police questioned her version of events, the court heard. Bothroyd threw a pint glass containing Guinness, red wine and cranberry juice over PC Laing, and the glass narrowly missed him.
She also said she had recently developed a series of serious health problems including including skin cancer, three strokes and fits.
Mark Drew, defending, said there was a sea change in her behaviour and said: "It's her honest belief something intervened chemically with her that made her act the way she did."
The magistrates found Bothroyd guilty of all offences, calling her evidence 'contradictory and implausible'.
For the most serious assault, on chef Cave, Bothroyd was given a custodial sentence of 20 weeks reduced to 18 because of her guilty plea. The assaults on the other victims led to lesser sentences to run concurrently. But as the matter against PC Laing was committed while on bail, she was given a four-week sentence to run consecutively.
Bothroyd was ordered to pay compensation of £50 each to assistant manager Stephen Fenton, bar worker Jay French, Glover and PC Laing, and £100 each to Holland and Cave. She was also ordered to pay costs of £620 and a victim surcharge of £115, resulting in a total payment of £1,235.
The court heard that Bothroyd is currently on remand to Exeter Crown Court, awaiting for the hearing of a serious charge on 29 January.
Further charges involving dumping rotten food waste and smashed bottles outside her hotel, which were due to be heard at the magistrates' court alongside the assault charges, have been adjourned until 11 October.
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