Estate agent Lewis Hughes admits assault on Professor Chris Whitty in St James’s Park

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Lewis Hughes outside Westminster Magistrates Court (PA)
Lewis Hughes outside Westminster Magistrates Court (PA)

An estate agent who drunkenly accosted England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has pleaded guilty to assault.

Lewis Hughes, 24, and his friend Jonathan Chew, also 24, were both labelled “despicable thugs” by Prime Minister Boris Johnson after the incident in St James’s Park.

Footage of the incident went viral, showing the two men grabbing Prof Whitty as they shout “oi oi” and say “one photo please?”.

At Westminster magistrates court on Friday, Hughes pleaded guilty to assault in the incident on June 27.

He was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £100 in compensation to Professor Whitty.

Hughes was sacked from his job as an estate agent at Caplen Estates Agents in Buckhurst Hill, Essex in the wake of the incident, and issued a groveling apology “for any upset I caused”.

Mr Hughes, from Romford, Essex, previously said he and Mr Chew went up to Prof Whitty after they had been on an anti-vaccination march.

“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”, he said.

“To be honest I just wanted a selfie with Chris Whitty to show my mum.

“I put my arm around him but he started moving away so my arm ended up going around his neck more.”

Mr Chew, of no fixed address, denied assault and obstructing a police officer in the same incident.

Kalsoom Shah, from the CPS, said: “This was a completely unacceptable act of targeting and assaulting Professor Chris Whitty.

“Lewis Hughes showed little regard for him or relevant social distancing rules when he accosted the Government’s Chief Medical Officer in the street. His behaviour was both shocking and disgraceful.

“Like everyone else, public figures should be free to go about their day to day work without fear of being targeted and assaulted. The CPS will always work with the police to bring to justice those who break the law in this way.”

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