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Agent who accosted Whitty charged with common assault

The estate agent who accosted England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has been charged with common assault.

Lewis Hughes, 23 and from Romford, has been sacked by the agency for which he worked - Caplen Estates in Essex.

Now he has been charged and will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on July 30.


"At approximately 19:20hrs on Sunday, 27 June officers in St James's Park became aware of a man being accosted by a group of men" says a Metropolitan Police statement.

It goes on: "Officers subsequently reviewed video footage which emerged after the incident and the matter was referred to the Public Order Crime Team. Enquiries continue."


Hughes had been on an anti-vaccination march on Sunday when he and a friend spotted Whitty at about 3pm in a central London park. They filmed the encounter, which appeared to show Hughes and his friend manhandling Whitty in an attempt to secure a selfie. They then posted the video on social media.

The ex-agent himself is quoted by The Sun newspaper as saying: "I absolutely apologise for any upset I caused. If I made him feel uncomfortable, which it does look like I did, then I am sorry to him for that. He is quite a timid, shy person and I think that is why he didn’t say ‘Get off me’. If he had said that and I had realised how he felt, I wouldn’t have put my arm round him.”

The incident provoked a strong rebuke from Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said: "I’m shocked at seeing the despicable harassment of Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty. I condemn the behaviour of these thugs. Our hard-working public servants should not have to face this kind of intimidation on our streets and we will not tolerate it.”

  • Rob Hailstone

    That is it then, let the courts decide.

  • Algarve  Investor

    Definitely a move to discourage further harassment of Whitty, which is entirely right given the work he's done and the fact he never asked to be in the public spotlight. Outside of a pandemic, he would never have had this level of fame and would have been able to go about his life and work quietly and without any fuss.

    Having seen the video, common assault seems a little harsh, although clearly they made Whitty very uncomfortable and acted like drunken, boorish morons. Hughes has at least appeared remorseful and has already lost his job, but I guess this shows that actions will have consequences, particularly if you post your stupidity all over social media for the world to see.

  • icon

    This is way OTT. Yes they have made fools of themselves and acted like idiots but this has all got out of control with the herd all joining in beating up these unfortunate two boys. They were just having a laugh and the video makes it look worse than it is. Strange shy Chris Whitty should keep himself in his lab. It was just a bit of fun which if Chris Whitty would have had his selfie with them, would never have reached the news. This is all a tragic error, they should never have lost their jobs. Boris's comment was probably made by one of his aides. The whole situation has become ludicrous.

    Algarve  Investor

    Not sure they are unfortunate. It was their decision to do it in the first place and then post to the world about it - very far from bright. I imagine they expected to become viral sensations, neglecting to notice that Whitty looked visibly uncomfortable. How would you like it if two drunken louts started hugging you, especially now of all times, with an ongoing pandemic?

    Also, if you wanted to lock away all 'strange' and shy people, you'd be asking lots of people to stay out of society! Whitty should expect to go about his daily business without being manhandled in this way or subject to abuse and intimidation and anti-lockdown/anti-vaxxers causing trouble outside his home. How stupid are these people?

    I think there probably has been a bit of a pile-on, and Boris's words weren't best chosen given his far from clean-cut past, but their actions were very idiotic and they deserved to be punished. Maybe a job loss and the bad press would have been enough, but sending out a clear statement to people who might be considering taking things even further seems to be playing a part in the tougher punishment.

    Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

    For someone who knows that absolute risk of being in close proximity to people with a complete disregard for any form of social distancing this must have been terrifying. The video shows what the video shows and is so far beyond acceptable I am amazed that anyone can be-little what happened. Saying that Mr Whitty should keep himself locked in his lab is close to saying that the girl who got physically abused should never have socialised!! No one should put up with being manhandled in this way. It is totally unacceptable and people should be held accountable for their actions no matter how trivial 'they' believe they are. One persons poor moral code does not mean that everyone else's should be downgraded to accommodate it.


    You think trying to putting an old man in a headlock is having a laugh - scum

    It was not an error its was drunken bullying an old man

  • Andrew Ireland

    No comment from the National Association, how pathetic.
    When will someone from our profession stand up and publicly say that this form of behaviour is completely unacceptable, or perhaps it doesn’t matter

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    Try and remember when you were young, life was fun and poor ole Chris Whitty isn't. They have been punished enough. No need to take this further. These two fun lads do not deserve the whole world having throwing rocks at them. The point has been made.

    Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

    Oh....my mistake, it's fun to abuse the 'elderly' is it James?
    I don't believe Mr Whitty feels he should be considered as old, nor do I for that matter. I would still not wish to be assaulted in this way.
    Put your shovel away James before the hole gets too deep.

  • icon

    The Nat Assoc has been a joke for years, probably from when Hugh Dunsmore- Hardy was pushing info packs. And Daniel Hamilton-Browne put your shovel way ha ha. All they wanted was a selfie, the video is no way as bad as it appears. Watching the packed football stadiums its easy to forget covid. Its witch hunting now, i say give the lads a break and i'm a lot older than you.

    Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

    Then, James Grey (deliberately getting your name wrong in response to you getting mine wrong; you should know better at your age how to copy), they should have asked nicely for a selfy and not grabbed him and pulled him around. And no, It is NOT easy to forget Covid, unless you have the memory of a gnat, given that it remains a very real threat to many.
    It is evident that wisdom does not naturally come with age.

  • icon

    Apologies Daniel Flog em and hang em Hamilton hyphen Charlton.

    Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

    Apology accepted James 'it's ok for the young to act like hooligans and abuse people 'cos it's just fun and they are young and should not be punished in any way for being so' Gibbs.

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    Thought it was an anti lockdown march?


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