Tue, 20 Feb, 2018
Dad’s horror: “I was told I was a paedophile”
It’s important to be vigilant these days when it comes to child safety, but some believe this hotel took it too far, wrongly accusing a guest of paedophilia.
Karl Pollard, 46, and his 14-year-old daughter Stephanie had travelled four hours from south Wales to north west England to visit his mother, who was about to begin treatment for cancer. The father and daughter checked into a Travelodge hotel in Cheshire, taking a double room as it was reportedly the only option available.
So Karl was understandably shocked when, minutes after settling in to the room, a police officer arrived at his door. Initially, he panicked that something had happened to his sick mum or wife, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and for whom Karl is a carer.
But he couldn’t have predicted what the policewoman had really paid them a visit for.
The officer told Karl the police had received a call from Travelodge, who believed he was a paedophile grooming underage girls.
“I explained to her [the officer] that I was Stephanie’s dad. The officer had to ask her loads of questions to prove it,” Karl told the Daily Star, explaining he and his daughter were questioned separately.
“I couldn’t believe it. It was an emotional trip already but it was made so much worse. One minute I was brushing my teeth, the next I was being told I was a paedophile.”
Karl recalled getting a “weird look” from the receptionist but “thought nothing of it”.
When the officer finally came to the conclusion that nothing sinister was going on and left the room, Stephanie burst into tears.
“She was so scared — and thought I was going to get taken away,” he said. “This has never happened to me before. It was an already traumatic trip. I was treated disgustingly. The worst was my daughter, she was just so distraught.”
Travelodge issued a statement to The Sun explaining its hotel staff were trained according to guidelines put forth by the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
“In the past, proactive action by our hotel teams has helped to safeguard young people at risk,” the statement continued. “In this instance we got it wrong and we have apologised to Mr Pollard, as well as refunded his stay.”
Incredibly, it’s not the first time the hotel chain has wrongly accused a father of paedophilia.
Last year, a widowed dad was forced to prove his 13-year-old daughter Millie was in fact his daughter.
“He [the receptionist] said it was company policy and I had to go on to Facebook to show messages I’ve sent to her,” the UK father told The Sun. “It was bizarre and really offensive. Then he told me that he’d already called police so I had to wait for them to arrive.”
Tell us in the comments below, do you think the hotel was right to take such precautions? Or did they take things too far?
Image credit: South West News Service.