This is the moment a real-life Basil Fawlty is captured on CCTV slapping a balding foreign waiter before dragging him across the lobby and throwing him out of the hotel.
Robert Hardman, 54, flew into a rage when former employee Sorin Paraschiv came back into the hotel to claim £800 in past wages after he left his job weeks earlier.
Hardman, who runs the three-star Plough Hotel in Northampton, was captured on CCTV pushing Romanian-born Sorin under the front desk and slapping him around the face and head.
The 50-second clip taken from the hotel’s security cameras then shows a female receptionist rushing to the aid of the man before remonstrating with Hardman and urging him to stop.
Seconds later Hardman is seen dragging the middle-aged man through the hotel lobby by his shirt collar before hurling out of the front doors.
The scene has striking echoes of the hit British sitcom Fawlty Towers in which John Cleese plays highly strung hotel boss Basil Fawlty who regularly beats hapless Spanish waiter Manuel.
He was spared prison, to allow him to continue working at the hotel, and received a seven month prison sentence suspended for 18 months.
Judge Rupert Mayo said it was a “shocking” attack which took place in front of another member of staff.
He said: “After more than 50 years without any problems you lost it. The footage shows you lost it.
“It may well have been somebody who you did not think deserved to take the money but you are a manager of a medium sized hotel and it was humiliating for him.
“This is not the way for an employer to behave.
“The attack was in the reception area of the hotel in public view where customers could have been walking in the hotel.
“They could have seen the shocking sight of a boss kicking and punching one of his employees while the receptionist was trying to intervene.”
The court heard dad-of-two Hardman flipped when the victim walked into his £75-a-night hotel at 4.30pm on October 22 last year and demanded his back pay.
Alex Bull, prosecuting, said the two men then got into an argument before Hardman punched the victim three times in the face so he fell to the floor.
Ms Bull said: “He then punched him under the desk and dragged him out of the building.”
The court heard the victim suffered injuries to his lip, eye, nose and his two front teeth were fractured.
Hardman was arrested and initially denied the attack during his first police interview but later pleaded guilty to a charge of causing actual bodily harm.
He was also ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work, pay £1,750 to compensation to the victim, £250 costs and a £100 fine.
Harry Day, defending, said: “The attack was totally out of character.
“Mr Harding earns about £1,900 a month and works seven days a week.”
The court heard the victim may have to have root canal treatment as a result of the injuries.
Staff at the hotel, which on its website describes itself as being “proud of our reputation of friendly accommodating staff” described Hardman as “a real-life Basil Fawlty.”
One worker said yesterday: “Mr Hardman lives up to his name as hard. No one will mess about with him.
“He is a likeable man and can be very funny but when he feels like he has been taken advantage of he can lose it.
“We joke that he is the real life Basil Fawlty because he can get angry with people especially guests and people on the phone but I’ve never known him to be violent.
“I think on this occasion he just saw the red mist and went mad.”
Mr Paraschiv, in his mid-50s who lives in Northampton, had worked in the hotel’s restaurant and bar for more than three years before he left after a disagreement over pay.
A worker who did not want to be named, said: “He (Mr Paraschiv) had worked in the hotel for years, more than three I think, and he was popular but his English wasn’t great.
“He had a falling out with Mr Hardman over money and he left but was convinced he was owed money for overtime and late shifts.
“I haven’t seen him since he was thrown out the hotel by Mr Hardman.”
Hardman was not at the hotel today but staff said he had returned to his home in Stockport, Greater Manchester, and was expected to return to work this weekend.
The hotel is a landmark of Northampton and was built in 1879.
During World War Two, it was used by the American Red Cross Society as a leave centre for American troops.
Over three years, a total of 174,000 servicemen stayed at the hotel and the American flag was raised above the building every day.
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