Owner of troubled Teignmouth hotel denies to assault charges

The owner of a troubled Teignmouth hotel who has been branded a ‘female Basil Fawlty’ is due in court today charged with assaulting five people and a police officer.

Former barrister Shirley Bothroyd, 59, who owns the Bay Hotel, pleaded not guilty to seven charges when she appeared in at Torquay Magistrates’ Court on July 28.

She was charged with five counts of assault, one count of assaulting a police officer and one count of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour. The offences occurred in June 2017.

She also denied failing without reasonable cause to surrender to custody at Torquay Magistrates’ Court having been released on bail in criminal proceedings on July 12 at Torquay Magistrates’ Court.The case was adjourned and Bothroyd, who was granted conditional bail by magistrates, is due to appear at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court on August 9.

Bothroyd, of the Bay Hotel, bought the prominent seafront building in 2013 for £1.5million and hit national papers after a series of online reviewers branded her a ‘female Basil Fawlty’.

The Bay Hotel was built in 1869 for the Earl of Devon. The accommodation offers 18 bedrooms including a Penthouse apartment and a four-poster suite, three family rooms, six double rooms, five twin rooms and two single rooms.

But the hotel has been troubled recently and the emergency services have prepared a dossier to present to Teignbridge Council to seek a closure order under anti-social behaviour legislation.

If the emergency services are successful in presenting their case for a closure order to the local authority, the hotel would be boarded up and the electricity supply to the hotel would be disconnected. No one would be allowed to enter the hotel.

The closure order follows three calls in the space of a week at the hotel – one of which was a fire in which destroyed the penthouse bedroom.

Two people have been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life by the police in relation of the fire on July 11. Police have confirmed that as no August 8, no charges have yet been brought against the pair.

Farmer denies handling Transit van stolen from Teignmouth

A farmer has denied handling a stolen Transit van which he was found dismantling in a shed on his land.

Thomas Hutchings said he was out checking his sheep during lambing season when he saw a stranger pull up in the lane next to his farm near Teignmouth with the truck on a trailer.

He said the driver asked if he could store it at his farm for the night but he ended up buying the tipper for £1,800 for scrap.

Hutchings, who runs a groundworks company in Kingsteignton, told Exeter Crown Court he only wanted the engine out of the vehicle, from which many parts had already been removed.

He said he did not ask for a receipt or any paperwork because he assumed the Transit was on its way to a scrap yard and so nothing was needed. He did not know the name of the man who sold it.

In fact, the truck had been stolen from just outside Nevada Construction’s yard on the Broadmeadow Industrial Estate earlier that evening and was worth about £8,000.

It was fitted with a tracker and found by police four miles away at Hutchings’ Hayward Farm on Shaldon Road, Teignmouth, two days later. Hutchings and his brother Joshua were in the process of dismantling it and were about the remove the engine.

Hutchings, aged 28, of Rydon Acres, Kingsteignton, denies handling stolen goods.

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Miss Laura Searle, prosecuting, said the truck, valued at £8,000 to £10,000 and with a newly replaced gearbox, was stolen in December 2015 and traced through a GPS tracker to Hayward Farm.

The tracker showed that despite the distance being only 4.3 miles, the journey had taken an hour and 42 minutes. It was found in a shed where Hutchings was working on it.

He said he had bought it from a stranger but had no suspicion it was stolen.

Miss Searle said: “The circumstances in which it was bought from a stranger, at night, with no details and no receipt for handing it over are so dodgy you can be sure he must have known it was stolen when he bought it.”

Hutchings said he was out lambing as it was getting dark and went to investigate headlights near a gate because he thought it may be fly tippers.

He said he found a man towing the truck who asked him if he had anywhere where he could store it overnight. He said he was taking it to a scrap yard and after a short conversation he agreed to buy it.

He had cash handy because he had just sold his VW Golf for £3,000 and agreed a price of £1,800. He did not think he needed any paperwork because the tipper was intended for scrap.

He said:”I had been lambing and was tired because it is a 24 hour job. I know on paper this looks terrible but it is just something that happened. I don’t think like a police officer. I don’t look at someone and ask if they are a criminal.

“I did not feel in was that necessary to ask where it came from because it was going to salvage. I saw it as an opportunity to have an engine that could be of help in the future.

“If I knew then what I know now I would not have bought it in the first place. I cannot stress that enough.” The trial continues.