Man conned hotels out of thousands

PUBLISHED: 09:37 08 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:58 22 October 2010

A notorious confidence trickster was yesterday found guilty of duping three hotels out of thousands of pounds.

A notorious confidence trickster was yesterday found guilty of duping three hotels out of thousands of pounds.

Matthew Holloway, 36, lavished up to £500 a day in room service on two friends after handing over worthless credit card details to unsuspecting managers.

Magistrates were told the convicted fraudster concocted a series of elaborate stories to avoid paying the hotel bills before police caught up with him last year.

Holloway, who was jailed for 18 months in 2000 after conning a retired headteacher out of £5,000, was convicted in his absence after failing to attend court.

Over the last six years, the Walter Mitty-style character has been behind bars on three separate occasions for extracting up to £73,000 from unwitting victims, including vulnerable pensioners.

At King's Lynn Magistrates' Court yesterday prosecutor Ben Brighouse said: "Holloway is effectively a fraudster.

"He never paid the bills and was never going to pay, he has a propensity to be untruthful and his previous convictions highlight that this gentleman is a complete con-artist."

Holloway, described as a "smooth-talker" by one of his victims, was found guilty of three counts of obtaining services by deception.

Mr Brighouse told how the trickster had befriended a couple, Andy Burchett and Karis Munns at a pub in Lynn last year before offering to help them financially.

He promised the pair they could stay at the town's Belgrave Hotel, but after they racked-up a bill of nearly £1,600, he moved them on to the Duke's Head hotel, also in Lynn, without paying.

There they spent £2,386 before Holloway transferred them to the town's Globe Hotel.

On each occasion, Holloway failed to settle with the businesses despite saying he would pay for the couple.

Saskia Navarro, a former receptionist at the Globe where the couple spent £715, told the court: "They were allowed up to £500 per day.

"He [Holloway] said the couple were working for him as employees.

"He was a bit angry because I rang him because they were ordering rather a lot to the room and he said 'well that's my decision'."

Belgrave Hotel manager George Forrester-Pettigrew said Holloway had promised to be a guarantor for the couple.

"Holloway came into the hotel with the couple. He told us if they wanted a drink, give them a drink and then in April he sent us a cheque for £700.

"Later we got a letter from the bank saying there were insufficient funds. The explanation for the cheque bouncing was that his wife took the money out without his knowledge."

Holloway is believed to have moved recently from his home in Burma Close, Dersingham, near Lynn.

Magistrate Ron Miller issued a warrant without bail for his arrest.

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