[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 4 August, 2003, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Hotel hostage taker jailed
A failed businessman who took a teenage chambermaid hostage at knifepoint in a hotel has been jailed for three years.

Django Smith, 39, locked himself and the 17-year-old girl in his room at the Beauport Park Hotel, in Hastings, East Sussex, for three hours after claiming he was an al-Qaeda terrorist.

Lewes Crown Court heard that Smith, who was armed with a butter knife, threatened to harm the teenager during telephone exchanges with hotel management.

The incident on the afternoon of 19 October last year led armed police to surround the Battle Road hotel in a siege.

Vodka and champagne

The court was told Smith, who grabbed the chambermaid as she cleaned his room, had been drinking vodka and champagne in the hotel bar.

He at one point ordered the girl to undress before changing his mind.

The father-of-two eventually released her unharmed before giving himself up without a struggle.

He was said to have been depressed and was suffering from a personality disorder after his business collapsed and his marriage failed.

Smith, of no fixed abode, admitted false imprisonment.

Jailing him for three years, Judge Guy Anthony said it must have been "a truly terrifying episode" for the teenager.

He told Smith his personal problems were no excuse for what he had done.

Man arrested after hotel siege
20 Oct 02  |  England

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific