Former estate agent sentenced for park assault on Chris Whitty

A former estate agent left Prof Chris Whitty “humiliated” after he put him in a headlock when England’s chief medical officer declined to be in {a photograph} with him.

Lewis Hughes, 24, of Romford, Essex, put his future in danger with “10 seconds of madness” when he accosted Whitty in St James’s Park in central London final month, Westminster magistrates heard.

Footage of the incident, lasting about 20 seconds, was extensively shared on social media.

At the courtroom on Friday, Hughes, who was sacked following the incident on 27 June, admitted a cost of assault by beating and was handed a suspended sentence.

Senior district choose Paul Goldspring informed him: “[Whitty] goes about his very difficult job without the expectation of yobs like you accosting him, assaulting him.

“And to compound it all, he was further humiliated by that video being posted.”

Hughes, who wore a go well with to the listening to, was given an eight-week jail sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay a complete of £307 in fines and compensation.

The choose mentioned Hughes’s actions “undermined” the efforts of key employees all through the coronavirus pandemic.

Goldspring went on to say: “The act itself is not the most serious but there are very few cases that are more serious in my view.”

He described Whitty as somebody who has led with “great dignity and professionalism” all through the pandemic.

Goldspring mentioned he believed Whitty would donate the £100 compensation awarded to him to charity, saying it might be the “mark of the man”.

He informed Hughes: “Let it be a lesson to you: yobbish behaviour and drinking alcohol has consequences.”

Luke Staton, prosecuting, informed the courtroom Whitty had not meant to report the footage till it had been launched on-line. He mentioned Whitty had been strolling within the park when he was requested for {a photograph} by three people, which he declined.

The courtroom heard Hughes then positioned Whitty in a “loose headlock” earlier than he broke free and went to a close-by police officer. Whitty had recognised that the defendants weren’t “aggressive” however he doubted their intentions in asking for {a photograph}, the courtroom heard.

Laurie-Anne Power, defending, mentioned Hughes had been in London for a dance pageant previous to the incident. She mentioned: “Ten seconds of madness has cost this young, ambitious man his future.”

Power mentioned Hughes is “remorseful for his actions” and has paid a “heavy price” by shedding his job as an estate agent. She added that he was a person of “exemplary good character” who has introduced “humiliation” on himself and his household.

The courtroom heard he approached Whitty merely to get {a photograph} with him, and never due to his views on the pandemic. However, Power mentioned Hughes recognised that Whitty had “not given his consent to touch him”.

A second man, Jonathan Chew, 24, from Chelmsford, Essex, pleaded not responsible to the identical cost of assault by beating. Chew, who wore a navy hoodie for the looks, additionally denied wilfully obstructing police constable Steven Ozden on the identical day.

He was granted bail and requested to look on the similar courtroom on 23 November for a trial. The courtroom heard Whitty is predicted to offer proof on the trial.

The Metropolitan police drive launched an investigation after final month’s incident, and officers carried out a welfare test on the chief medical officer, who didn’t endure any accidents.

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