A ROW has broken out after a pregnant mum said her children found a nine-inch meat cleaver in a hotel room where they had been temporarily rehomed following a large fire.

Donna Lever, 38, had to leave her rented house when it was badly damaged in the blaze triggered by a faulty tumble dryer.


But the Bacup mum said she was disgusted when she saw the knife and several cans stuffed into a rip in the side of a bed in the Blackburn hotel.

She said she told a member of staff about the knife and reported the incident to Rossendale Council, which had placed them in the hotel, when they left.

Rossendale Council confirmed it had received the complaint following the family’s stay.

EJ Hussain, manager of the Hill View Hotel in Preston New Road, Blackburn, however said the room had been ‘inspected thoroughly’ before the family arrived and no concerns were reported to him during their stay.

He later contacted the police to claim a bed had been damaged by the family.

Lancashire Telegraph:

RIPPED OPEN: A bed at the Hill View Hotel in Blackburn

Miss Lever and her partner, David Johnson, 32, said they were out with their children when the fire ripped through their Pennine Road property at 2pm on Wednesday.

Because their home was so badly damaged they were told they must go into temporary accommodation.

Mr Johnson said when the children spotted the cleaver, which he believes was left there by a previous guest, he took a picture of it on his phone to prove it was in the room.

Miss Lever, who is 18 weeks pregnant, said: “I couldn’t believe it. From the outside, the hotel looked presentable but the accommodation clearly hadn’t been cleaned before we arrived.

“There was a rip to the bed and a load of tin cans stuffed inside. It was bad but I never expected to find a meat cleaver. It’s a weapon.

“We were moving a single bed against a wall so the kids, who were topping and tailing, wouldn’t fall out in their sleep, and they spotted it.

“I was disgusted. We were meant to stay for two nights but we told them the next morning we were leaving. On the way out, I told a lady working there about the the cleaver.

“Now we’re back in the smoke-damaged house, despite the fact the fire service told us it wasn’t safe for me to be there while I’m pregnant.”

The couple, who are full-time parents, and their four children - Mylo, seven, Charles, two, Dominic, one, and Eva, seven months - are now sleeping on the kitchen and living room floors of their damaged house.

Mr Hussain refuted Miss Lever’s claim that the room was untidy and said the cleaver was not spotted during his staff’s prior checks.

In turn, he accused the family of causing criminal damage to a bed and littering the room with cans - something they deny.

He said: “I have had a word with my cleaners and they say no-one complained that day. I find it quite upsetting and alarming that they would make these claims.

“I have helped out vulnerable people for Rossendale Council many times. I am shocked that they would complain. I spent £90,000 on a refurbishment recently. I do not know anything about a cleaver or knife. It was not there when my staff looked.”

Lancashire police said it received a report of criminal damage at the hotel on Friday afternoon, after the Lancashire Telegraph had contacted the hotel for comment, and that officers had arranged a visit.

A Rossendale Council spokesman said: “The council’s supported accommodation providers were full on the day that the emergency occurred and our Housing Options Team were looking for accommodation for this family.

“Rossendale Council has been using this particular accommodation provider for over six years now and has never previously had a formal complaint about its condition or standards.

“The council was only made aware of the meat cleaver find once the family had left the accommodation, after one night and returned to their home. Our Housing Options Team are looking into this matter as the safety and comfort of tenants who are unfortunate to have to be placed in emergency accommodation are of paramount importance.”

Green Vale Homes said contractors were working to repair damage to floors, ceilings and walls to the couple’s home.