Woman ran off to dodge £450 bill for one night in luxury Norfolk hotel

Park Farm Country Hotel in Hethersett: Photo: Park Farm Country Hotel

Park Farm Country Hotel in Hethersett: Photo: Park Farm Country Hotel - Credit: Archant

A 38-year-old woman who ran off without paying for an overnight stay at a luxury hotel has escaped punishment, despite having an extensive history of similar offences, a court heard.

Aimee Ghent, of Warena Close, Woodbridge, Suffolk was given a conditional discharge after the court heard she had been the victim of domestic violence.

Ghent had stayed at the Park Farm Hotel in Hethersett for one night and took off without paying the £452.50 bill.

She appeared in Norwich Magistrates' Court on Tuesday where she pleaded guilty to making off without making payment.

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Prosecutor Victoria Bastock said Ghent had booked a room for a one-night stay on August 8, 2018, which cost around £240.

With drinks and food, the final bill came to £452.50 which hotel staff were unable to retrieve from her card on August 9 when Ghent had tried to check out.

'She said she was working for a company called Peace of Mind who were rewarding her for her work by staying at the hotel,' Ms Bastock said.

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Ghent handed over another credit card to pay the bill and admitted there was also damage in the room which she needed to pay for. The second card was also declined, and despite efforts to get in touch with her the defendant ran off without paying the bill.

Ms Bastock said Ghent had an extensive history of similar offences, including shoplifting in 2016, fraud and several other attempts of evading payment in 2015 and offences relating to benefit entitlement which dated back to 2010.

Alistair Taunton, mitigating, said Ghent should be dealt with by way of conditional discharge as she was pressured into booking the hotel room by a man.

'What was supposed to be a pleasant evening turned into a nightmare,' Mr Taunton said, adding that Ghent had been subjected to domestic violence.

He said the damage in the wet room was caused by the man and that Ghent had reported him to police a month later in September after experiencing further problems with him.

The hotel had brought civil action against Ghent in which she accepted she was liable to pay the bill. She has so far paid off £192, Mr Taunton said.

Chairman of the bench Roger Marston handed Ghent a conditional discharge for 18 months, and ordered her to pay £20 and £85 costs.