Could you imagine not only losing your spouse to death, but then checking into a hotel with your teenage daughter, only to be accused of being a pedophile and questioned by the police? Sounds like a horror story, right? Sadly for one widowed father, this became a reality.
Craig Darwell, 46, checked into a Travelodge with his 13-year-old daughter, Millie, while visiting Thorpe Park. Shortly after check in, he moved his car, and then returned to be questioned by a hotel employee as to whether he was actually her father.
He said, “We checked in and then I had to move my car,” Darwell continued, “When I got back to reception the guy started asking me to prove I was her dad. He said it was company policy and I had to go onto Facebook to show messages I’ve sent to her.”
Darwell added, “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. Luckily it took them about two seconds to realise he had got the wrong end of the stick but it ruined the weekend for me.”
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Telegraph UK reports:
Surrey Police said: “We were called by a member of staff at the Travelodge on Guildford Street in Chertsey on Thursday, 30 March just after 8pm following a concern for safety.
“Officers attended and made no arrests, no further enquiries will take place.
“Hotels, taxi companies and other licensed premises have recently been equipped with the right knowledge to identify children who could be at risk of exploitation under Operation Makesafe.”
A spokesman for Travelodge said: “We take our responsibilities towards protecting children and vulnerable young people extremely seriously.
“Our colleagues are trained based on current national guidelines from the NSPCC, the police and other agencies and in the past, hotel team actions have led to successful intervention to protect young people.
“Clearly fine judgements have to be made and we deeply regret any distress or inconvenience caused to Mr Darwell on this occasion.
“We are undertaking a full investigation into the circumstances and will take careful note of any lessons learned in due course, including additional training where appropriate.”In the meantime, we would like to apologise to Mr Darwell for the situation he encountered and we will be making further contact with him as our investigation continues.”
Hotel employees may be “trained” to recognize when a child is a victim of pedophilia but it sounds like they need to work on their techniques and ‘tells’ of what a child in distress may appear like. This employee was obviously extremely wrong and caused more harm than good in this family’s life.
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