A woman who attacked the manager at a high-end fish and chips restaurant, and then returned to assault the owner two months later, has been released from jail.
Sophie Gatacre, 57, who has performed at the Edinburgh fringe festival, called Hamza Ahmed ‘a dirty Bangladeshi man’ before slapping his face at The Chipping Forecast, in Notting Hill.
She attacked Timothy Haigh again a few weeks later, and then she swore at him on the streets.
Gatacre, who has toured with her comedy play, Samantha’s Hotline, as well as appearing in TV and film roles, was conditionally discharged for two years for the two assaults, fined £400 and ordered to pay her victims compensation.
Sophie Gatacre (pictured for her comedy play Samantha’s Hotline) assaulted the manager of an upmarket fish and chip restaurant and returned two months later to attack the owner
At Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the court heard that Mr Ahmed was attacked in his first assault on May 29.
As Mr Ahmed tried to set up tables and chairs outside, Gatacre blocked his way at the shop door and launched ‘a plethora of abuse’ at him, the court was told.
After slapping him on the face, she punched him in his chest and ran from the restaurant screaming at Mr Ahmed.
Jonathan Bryan, prosecuting, said Gatacre called Mr Ahmed a dirty Bangladeshi man’ during the incident.
He said Gatacre was ‘screaming at the top of her lungs’ as she said: ‘You don’t belong here, this is my country. I can do what I like.’
Gatacre claimed she only mentioned Bangladesh because Joan Baez ‘sings a wonderful song called Bangladesh’.
In a statement, Mr Ahmed described the abuse as ‘very unpleasant’ as he had been racially abused in the past.
‘I wake up in the morning not knowing whether I will be abused,’ he said.
‘Business is hard enough as it is due to Covid without her harassing customers.’
The court was informed that Gatacre went back to The Chipping Forecast on July 2nd 2021. There she attacked Mr Haigh.
After swearing and screaming in public, she slapped him and struck him on his arm, according to the court.
Gatacre then rode past the eatery on her bike on July 24 and shouted ‘there’s the f****** fish man’ at Mr Haigh.
She parked up and shouted ‘f****** fish man’ and ‘bastard’ repeatedly, the court heard.
‘I asked her several times to please leave me alone,’ said Mr Haigh, who claimed she was shouting very close to his face.
Although he claimed he had pushed her past, she looked at him and hit his back with her elbow.
Gatacre, who has toured London, Edinburgh and New York since 2009, represented herself after falling out with her lawyer, the court heard.
Two counts of assault against Mr Ahmed, Mr Haigh, and one count each of racially aggrieved assault on Mr Ahmed had been previously admitted.
Despite her guilty pleas, she said: ‘Most of what that man said is completely untrue’, referring to Mr Bryan’s prosecution statement.
The CCTV footage showed her being attacked by the owner of the fish shop, not the other way round.
The Chipping Forecast was a Notting Hill fish-and-chip restaurant that suffered both assaults. It has been permanently closed since.
Gatacre denied racially abusing Mr Ahmed and said: ‘I never ever said such words to him.
‘He had a camera in my face for a very long time which I’m sure is illegal.
‘Finally I said “get that thing away from me” and I put my hand out.’
Elle insisted on pleading guilty because her ex-solicitor required it.
‘I don’t know what to say apart from the fact that I didn’t assault anyone’, Gatacre added.
The actress, from Notting Hill, was fined a total of £400 and ordered to pay Mr Ahmed £300 compensation.
She must also pay Mr Haigh £200 compensation and was made subject of a restraining order barring her from contacting either of the men.
Also, she was told that she could not go into the restaurant.