Drinker faces jail for attacking tourist who refused to give up his wife’s chair

A drinker is facing jail for repeatedly punching a tourist in the head in front of his wife and daughter in a row over a pub chair.

Mohamed Reda, 50, and another unidentified male, attacked assaulted Tomasz Rylski at the historic Lamb & Flag pub in Marylebone on 13 August 2018 in an incident caught on the pub’s CCTV.

The attackers had earlier argued with Mr Rylski for not giving up a chair he had been saving for his wife, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Oliver Newman told jurors that Mr Rylski was sat with his daughter outside the pub and using a backpack to save a chair for his wife while she shopped.

‘It was a nice sunny Summer’s day and the outside sitting was reasonably busy.

‘A man in a black top, who the Crown had been unable to identify, approached him and asked if the chair was free.

‘He said he was saving it for his wife. He was polite and reasonable.

‘The seating area was covered by CCTV and this exchange, and what followed, was recorded.

‘There was a prolonged discussion with the man in the black top trying to pull the chair away,’ said Mr Newman.

The man with the black top briefly left but then returned with Reda, who in turn argued with Mr Rylski and tried to pull the chair away as the tourist held on to it, it is said.

Reda then pulled an empty chair at the other end of the table in ‘an angry manner’ and he sat with his companion with his back to the Mr Rylski’s table

‘Mrs Sbolenwska, Mr Rylski’s wife then appeared and came up to their table

 

‘Mr Rylski stood up and, with his wife to his right hand side and pulled out the chair for her with his left hand.

‘He turned a little to his left when he did so.

‘Mr Rylski pulled his chair back for his wife.

‘In pulling the chair it accidentally knocked on the defendant’s back of the defendant’s chair due to the closeness of the tables.

‘Mr Rylski turned to apologise but the defendant jumped to his feet, turned and punched him in the head, followed by further punches to his head, shoulders and back.

‘The defendant appears to have completely lost control at having his chair bumped and responded by raining blows on Mr Rylski, completely unprovoked,’ said Mr Newman.

‘The man in the black shirt also jumped up and piled in and can be seen on the CCTV grabbing the defendant’s glass off the table, which he then used to hit Mr Rylski on the head.

‘The defendant, rather than realising matters have gotten completely out of hand and backing off, continued to assault Mr Rylski, while Mr Rylski started to bleed from multiple cuts across his face,’ said the prosecutor.

As the ‘surprised and dazed’ victim tried to back away he ended up backed against the wall of the pub, as his wife and daughter made futile attempts to pull the attackers off him, the court heard.

The pair fled the pub, with Mr Rylski left with cuts to his face and a head wound which required three stitches.

When interviewed by police, Reda claimed he was acting in self-defence because he believed that Mr Rylski was about to attack him from behind.

He told officers he thought Mr Rylski had been looking for trouble and had told him to ‘go home and learn English’.

Mr Newman added: ‘He said he had worked in security for 10 years and was scared of the Polish guy because he was big and could have been a soldier or the like,’ said Mr Newman

‘It is the Crown’s case the CCTV itself pretty clearly, shows what happened.

‘The defendant was in no way acting to defend himself, he was indeed not under threat and instead lost his temper when, clearly on edge from not having gotten his way with the chair, his chair was knocked.’

Giving video evidence from his home in Poland, Mr Rylski told the court that Reda started pushing the chair after he told him he was saving it for his wife.

Andrew Foreman, defending Reda, asked him: ‘Did you, at this point, maybe say in an aggressive manner ‘behave?’

‘This I cannot recall,’ said Mr Rylski.

‘It is possible to say behave, because it is not normal behaviour, pushing chairs.

Mr Rylski denied deliberately shoving his chair into Reda’s when he stood up for his wife, insisting it was an accident.

Mr Foreman said: ‘I put it to you that, as you pushed your chair towards Mr Reda, you said ‘f*****g foreigners.’

‘No. As I am a foreigner, I would not use these words.’

The court was told that Mr Rylski had been repeatedly punched and kicked during the sudden attack.

‘So you couldn’t say which man was doing which action,’ asked Mr Foreman.

Mr Rylski replied: ‘Both of them. I had been attacked viciously and I couldn’t see who threw which kick or punch.’

Mr Rylski’s daughter Olivia told the court that during the assault her father was ‘covered in blood’ and ‘in shock’.

Asked when the fight started, she replied: ‘It wasn’t really a fight. It was an attack.

‘They were seriously attacking my father.

‘They were punching him, kicking him and my dad was trying to protect himself with his hands.

‘My mum was trying to pull him back.

‘He was covered by then in blood, he couldn’t see anything, he was just in shock.’

Ms Rylski told the court that her dad barely had the time to apologise for knocking into the chair before Reda set upon him.

‘He started to throw punches, to kick, and the younger male joined in like it was nothing, like he was joining into the, I think, fun.

‘He started throwing punches and my father was covered in blood.

‘They had my father against the wall in the bar, there was nowhere to go, he couldn’t escape anywhere.

‘He had no option but to stand there and take the punches,’ she said.

After the alleged attackers ran away, Ms Rylski just focused on trying to wipe the blood from her father’s face as they waited for an ambulance.

It wasn’t until a police officer found her phone discarded in Oxford Street that she realised that it had gone missing from the table at some point during the incident.

Reda, of Alfred Road, Westbourne Park, west London, denied wounding with intent and affray at the beginning of the trial

He then admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm before the jury considered their verdicts.

Judge Joanna Korner told the jury: ‘The defendant, in your presence, has pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and in my judgement and that of the Crown, that meets the justice of the case.

‘This case has shown, more than everything, how unreliable human memory can be.

‘Nobody is suggesting the Polish family, particularly Mr Rylski who was the subject of the attack, were anything other than truthful when they suggested Mr Reda was the one who had broken the glass over the back of Mr Rylski’s head.

‘The reason he was charged with wounding with intent was of because of what Mr Ryksi said.’

But the judge added that the CCTV played in court had shown that it was the unnamed assailant who smashed a glass over the back of the victim’s head.

Reda, of Alfred Road, Westbourne Park, west London, denied, but was cleared of wounding with intent and affray, but admitted assault occasional bodily harm.

He was bailed ahead of sentence at Southwark Crown Court on March 30.

 

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