Hotel managers slapped colleague and drove into boss’s car in workplace fight

Two managers at a fancy hotel were handed criminal damage, theft and vandalism convictions after they lost their cool over a contentious hiring decision.

Merseyside hoteliers Diana Reynolds and Samantha Willett faced sentencing at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday after they enacted violent revenge on their ex-employer.

Willett, 36, and Reynolds, 41, were operational managers at the luxury Hillbark Hotel and Spa Resort in the Wirral for 8 and 12 months.

Both were respected professionals until owner Lisa Baker reinstated a sacked chef Willett had fired.

That decision sent the pair into a rage, with two distinct camps of Hillbark employees forming in a shocking workplace civil war.

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Staff were spotted on CCTV marching through the hotel in two tribes.

Reynolds slapped a colleague and hurled abuse while Willett left the hotel and intentionally crashed her vehicle into Baker's car.

Between £250 and £300 in bottles of various spirits were also taken by the pair and their allies.

Prosecuting lawyer Damian Nolan said: "These offences took place against a background of a significant amount of internal strife between the owner and other staff members of Hillbark Hotel and Spa Resort.

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"The owner intervened and reinstated him citing, procedural issues.

"Matters then descended very quickly throughout the evening from about 8pm onwards."

CCTV showed an erratic Reynolds whacking fellow staff in the face, striking colleague Ratko Ivekovic with "a slap or open handed punch to the face".

Nolan also described the "ripping of phone systems" and "damaging computers".

Willett has minor previous convictions of making off without payment and Reynolds for drug use, though both date back to well over a decade ago.

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She remains on sick leave from her current job at Sainsbury's.

Both lawyers said Reynolds and Willett are highly unlikely to be seen in a courtroom again.

Willett admitted one count of criminal damage while Reynolds pled guilty to affray, theft by employee and damage of property.

In sentencing judge Denis Watson QC said: "Quite the intensity of events on this particular day at the Hillbark Hotel.

"It's difficult to understand other than the fact I'm sure both of you had enormous pride in the job that you did but pride at doing a job well and professionally was utterly deserted by both of you on this particular occasion."

Mr Watson considered Willett's remorse and Reynolds' age, admitting the pair's convictions were "a long time ago".

He handed Reynolds a year-old community order with 15 rehabilitation activity requirements plus a two-week curfew between 9pm and 6am.

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