Financier admits drunken attack on model lover in Chelsea street

Tristan Kirk
Outside court: Richard Steele and his fiancée Davinia Hodgson

A fashion model was attacked in the street by her drunk investment manager fiancé after he refused to take her to a friend’s book launch, a court heard.

Davinia Hodgson, 28, had been at a wedding with Richard Steele when they got into an argument in Chelsea.

Steele, 37, was seen shoving Ms Hodgson three times, causing her to fall against a wall, Westminster magistrates’ court heard. Prosecutor Sophie Akister said Ms Hodgson, the daughter of funeral business tycoon Howard Hodgson, insisted in her police statement that they had hugged and “accidentally bumped heads, she was shocked and pushed him away”. Steele pleaded guilty to assault yesterday.

“There was an argument, both were in drink, and a scuffle ensued,” said Steele’s lawyer, Claire Cooper. “Ms Hodgson wanted to [go] to another event and drink more — a friend was doing a book launch. Mr Steele was adamant they shouldn’t go anywhere else as they had had their fill that afternoon. He knows he shouldn’t have laid his hands on Ms Hodgson.”

Steele, who shares a £3 million home in Chelsea with Ms Hodgson and her family, had to cut contact with her after the incident on July 12. But his team went to court to have these bail conditions removed as Ms Hodgson said she would not support the prosecution case.

Ms Cooper told the court Steele has a drink-drive conviction from five years ago but is otherwise of “exemplary character”, adding: “This is a situation of two people getting out of hand with each other, and Mr Steele taking things further than he ever should have.” She said Ms Hodgson is willing to give evidence in support of her fiancé.

Steele was freed on bail and will return to court on October 9 to be sentenced for the charge of assault by beating.