Sex offender Jason Flanagan conned his way into deputy manager's job at Crown Spa Hotel in Scarborough

A convicted online sex offender got himself a job as deputy manager at a top Scarborough hotel by falsifying his name and lying to them about his criminal record when applying for the post.

By Court Reporter
Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 9:02 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 9:06 am

Jason Flanagan, 34, applied for a management position at the Crown Spa Hotel under the name Jason Michaels, York Crown Court heard.

He landed the job, but bosses at the hotel had no idea they were hiring a man who was convicted in 2018 of possessing indecent images of children.

It was beholden upon Flanagan, aka Michaels, to tell police of any change of name or circumstances following his criminal conviction three years ago, but by the time they found out that he had officially changed his name, he had already worked for a brief period at the hotel.

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The Crown Spa Hotel's bosses innocently took on a man as deputy manager who had given a false identity.

Flanagan’s tenure at the hotel lasted only nine days in October 2020 before he lost his job during the Covid lockdown which forced all hospitality venues to shut their doors.

Prosecutor Alex Menary said Flanagan was required to notify police of any change in his circumstances within three days, following his conviction for possessing indecent images in March 2018.

This requirement was part of a 10-year notification order handed to Flanagan, along with a 21-month suspended prison sentence, later reduced on appeal.

Flanagan, of Alma Square, Scarborough, was visited by a detective constable In August 2020 when he discussed with the officer the possibility of changing his name to get a job.

“He confirmed during the conversation (that) he knew he had to notify police if he (changed his name),” said Mr Menary.

He said Flanagan had tried to create two new email addresses using the surname ‘Michaels’ but was unsuccessful.

In September last year, Flanagan applied for the deputy manager’s post at the Crown Spa Hotel after submitting a CV under the name of Jason Michaels.

“He was invited for interview (and) offered employment in that name,” said Mr Menary.

Flanagan provided the hotel with two email addresses linked to his new name.

“Neither of these (email addresses) were disclosed to police,” added the prosecutor.

Flanagan also told the hotel that he had no previous convictions that were not spent. In fact, his conviction from 2018 would not have been spent until February 2022.

About a week after losing his job, Flanagan went to his local police station and told officers he had changed his name to Jason Michaels.

He was arrested and admitted he had sought work under the new name, telling officers he thought his criminal conviction was a spent one.

Helen Towers, for Flanagan, said the police and Probation Service were “aware that he wanted to work in hospitality”.

“He had previously been a manager at (another) hotel,” said the barrister.

“When he found out he had secured that job he immediately, legally, changed his name and went to the police with a change of name.”

She added: “This offence was borne out of a motivation to rehabilitate himself. After leaving custody, he struggled to get employment.

“He was suffering from (rent) arrears with his accommodation and was (worried) about being made homeless.”

Flanagan, aka Michaels, appeared for sentence on Friday after he ultimately admitted failing to comply with the notification order.

He was originally charged with three other offences including two alleged breaches of the order related to the email addresses, but he denied these charges and they were ultimately dropped by the prosecution.

Judge Simon Hickey said Flanagan’s was a “deliberate failure” not to tell the hotel about his previous convictions.

However, he decided to suspend the inevitable jail sentence because Flanagan was “capable of working and…has had a warning shot fired across your bow”.

The eight-month prison sentence was suspended for 18 months and Flanagan was ordered to carry out 80 hours’ unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £900 prosecution costs and a statutory surcharge.