19th Nov, 2019

Burglar jailed after submitting Coventry hotel porter to 'terrifying' ordeal

Correspondent 24th Jul, 2017

A man who tried to force a Coventry hotel’s night porter to open the safe when he was disturbed while burgling the reception desk office has been jailed for more than four years.

Edward Rattigan pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to the theft at the Premier Inn in May and the attempted robbery of the night porter.

Rattigan (29) of Beaconsfield Road, Stoke, Coventry, who had also admitted three charges of burglary, was jailed for four years and four months.

Prosecutor Ian Windridge said on April 29 Rattigan used a brick to smash a hole in the front window of the Sonargaon Tandoori Restaurant in Daventry Road, Coventry, during the night.

He climbed through the hole and began to take charity boxes and alcohol, but fled empty-handed when a member of staff who lived upstairs heard a noise and went to investigate.

The following month Rattigan turned up at the Millboard premises in Oxford Road, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, where staff recognised him because he had previously worked there.

He was captured on CCTV making trips between the staff canteen, from where he stole cash and other items belonging to employees, and a car which the police were able to link to him, having stopped him in it previously.

Then on May 28 the night porter at the Premier Inn returned to the reception area at around 3am after setting the tables in the dining room for breakfast.

He noticed the reception desk till had been opened using a key which was kept in the office, and £90 was missing from it.

So he went to the office where he saw the safe had been tampered with – and then became aware of Rattigan trying to hide behind the door.

There was a confrontation between them, during which Rattigan threatened him with a large screwdriver, demanding: “Open the safe, or I’ll cut you up.”

The night porter said he did not have access to the safe and, in a bid to get Rattigan out of the office, said there were tills in the restaurant, where they then went.

As Rattigan tried to force open the tills, which were in fact empty, the night porter said he needed to go outside to get some air.

Rattigan, who had also demanded his wallet which he had said was elsewhere in the hotel, followed him out and threatened him not to grass before running off.

Then in early June a CCTV camera at the Allesley Hotel in Birmigham Road, Coventry, captured Rattigan crouching down behind the reception desk before going into the office where he forced open a till and stole around £100 in cash.

When he was arrested Rattigan, who had 39 previous convictions for 89 offences, made no comment about any of the offences except the Sonargaon restaurant, about which he said ‘I did it,’ added Mr Windridge.

Marcus Harry said that over the last five years Rattigan had been ‘a supportive partner and father,’ and was in employment and ‘contributing positively to his family unit.’

His earlier offences had been linked to recreational drug use, but the latest ones arose after he argued with his partner over the company he was keeping, and she told him to leave.

“He started, for the first time in his life, taking heroin; and very, very quickly things spiralled out of control for him, and this spate of offending ensued.”

Of the incident at the Premier Inn, Mr Harry added: “He didn’t take the screwdriver with the intention of using it as a weapon, but to force the till.”

Rattigan was jailed for three years and four months for the robbery, with consecutive sentences of five months for the Allesley Hotel burglary and seven months for the Sonargaon break-in, and a concurrent five-month term for the Millboard offence.

Recorder Alastair Smith told him: “This was a serious and sustained robbery against a lone employee trying to earn a living in the service industry. It was clearly terrifying for him.”

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