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An 82-year-old woman who behaved in a disorderly manner and failed to leave a Tarbert hotel has been fined at Campbeltown Sheriff Court.
Maureen Jackman, of no fixed abode, was found guilty after a trial of refusing or failing to leave the Islay Frigate Hotel in Tarbert’s Harbour Street, where she had been staying, after being asked to do so by the owner, on May 11 this year.
The hotel’s owner, who gave evidence as a witness, said that Jackman, who appeared in court from custody, aided by a walking frame, was known to hotel employees and that she did not want her to stay again because of her behaviour during a previous visit, but a new member of staff accepted the booking.
The witness said Jackman was ‘invisible’ during her stay and staff could not get access to clean her room because she had locked it from the inside, leaving the owner with no option but to put notes under her door.
The witness said she had given Jackman a specific date to leave, after which the hotel was fully booked, but Jackman appeared at reception before that date with all her bags, refusing to speak to the owner.
When Jackman said ‘I’m leaving’, the owner replied: ‘I need to speak to you because you need to pay your bills.
‘I need to know where you’re going, I need an address.’
She waited an hour before phoning the police and said Jackman was being ‘really abusive’.
When the police arrived, they found Jackman ‘sitting on the stairway with all her bags packed’.
Police witnesses said they stayed for an hour but could not find any resolution, so they arrested her and brought her to Lochgilphead police office.
When she was searched, she had in excess of £800.
Jackman’s defence lawyer Ruben Murdanaigum told the court she had made three payments during her stay and that she had no intention of leaving without paying.
Giving evidence, Jackman said: ‘It is my general way of dealing with things, I become reclusive. I retreat into myself when problems mount up, that’s my way of dealing with my situation.
‘It was not my intention not to pay.’
Sheriff Patrick Hughes said to Jackman: ‘It’s the second time in a short period you have passed through the court on an identical matter.
‘You got an absolute discharge last time but you won’t this time.’
Imposing a £250 fine, Sheriff Hughes said: ‘Your behaviour in this matter has been disgraceful. You have preyed on the generosity of others.’
A charge of obtaining board and lodging to the value of £520 without paying and intending not to pay on the same date was found not proven.