A hedge fund lawyer was convicted of assault today after punching a fashion designer in a bust-up at the Royal Opera House.
During a performance of Wagner, Matthew Feargrieve struck Ulrich Engler at least once in a dispute over a seat, City of London Magistrates’ Court heard.
The solicitor and barrister lashed out at Engler after the designer moved from his seat in Row B into an empty seat in Row A next to Feargrieve’s partner Catherine Chandler and moved her coat.
Engler, whose clients include the Countess of Derby, told the court he had moved into the empty chair in the front row at the opera three days earlier and did so again on 7 October 2018.
The designer said he asked Chandler if he could sit in the seat next to her, but she said no.
He then asked whether she had bought a ticket for the other seat, and Chandler said she had not, so Engler moved into it and moved her coat.
Feargrieve then punched Engler several times inside the Covent Garden venue as the performance of Wagner’s Siegfried began.
“I had never seen anybody looking with so much anger and terror at me,” he told City of London magistrates’ court, adding that he felt a “constant flow of blows”.
“He was up, leaning over the woman hitting me. While Mr Feargrieve was hitting me he said ‘how dare you talk to my wife like this’”.
Feargrieve said he was acting to defend his partner, who claimed that Engler had thrown her tweed coat from the seat onto the floor.
The court heard that Engler was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the attack.