Former model denies stealing can of alcohol from Tesco, court hears

A former model has denied stealing a can of gin and tonic from a London Tesco Express while out with the son of former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and the grandson of Ringo Starr, a court has heard (PA) (PA Wire)
A former model has denied stealing a can of gin and tonic from a London Tesco Express while out with the son of former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and the grandson of Ringo Starr, a court has heard (PA) (PA Wire)

A former model has denied stealing a can of gin and tonic from a London Tesco Express while out with the son of former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and the grandson of Ringo Starr, a court has heard.

Noah Ponte, 21, was stopped by staff at the Heath Street store in Hampstead, north-west London, as he tried leaving the shop with the drink shortly before midnight on May 17 2019, jurors heard.

He took the drink despite being unable to scan it at a self-checkout machine because it was outside the hours Tesco was licensed to sell alcohol, Wood Green Crown Court heard on Thursday.

The UCL student, who has worked with IMG Models, had been out celebrating a friend’s birthday with Gene Appleton Gallagher, 20, whose mother, Nicole Appleton, is a member of girl group All Saints, and Beatles Drummer Ringo Starr’s grandson Sonny Starkey, 21, before the incident, the jury heard.

I thought that I wasn't depriving Tesco of their payment through paying for nuts. I did not want to steal. It was quite a long and confusing way of paying, I will admit. My intention was to get around licence law but not to steal

Noah Ponte

Ponte told the court he did not steal when he left the shop as he had paid £1.70 for nuts, the same value as the drink, and left the nuts in the store in an attempt to get around the licensing restriction.

Speaking to the jury, he said: “I would like to say sorry for and apologise for my quite daft way of paying for a drink.”

He later said: “I thought that I wasn’t depriving Tesco of their payment through paying for nuts.

“I did not want to steal. It was quite a long and confusing way of paying, I will admit.

“My intention was to get around licence law but not to steal.”

Ponte also told the court he tried to explain what he had done to a security guard after being stopped but was “grabbed” by two members of staff.

He said: “I was beginning to explain how I had paid something of equivalent value but I didn’t get time to explain myself.

“I was grabbed and dragged back into the shop.”

“They began just pulling me around and trying to grab the receipt from my hands,” he added.

The court heard he left the shop without any goods.

Ponte was arrested shortly after the incident and held in a cell overnight before being interviewed by police the following day, the court heard.

He denies a charge of theft.

The trial continues.