A former British ambassador to the United States was left permanently scarred after being shoved to the floor by a teenager in a row getting off a tube train, a court heard today.
Sir Christopher Meyer, 74, was attacked from behind after muttering a swear word as he nudged past the 16-year-old part-time model and his girlfriend who were blocking the exit door, the court was told.
The retired diplomat spent six days in hospital after he was knocked unconscious and left covered in blood.
He had to undergo plastic surgery for an exposed tendon on his hand and lacerations near his left eye and lip.
The youth, now 17, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in court yesterday having previously admitted causing grievous bodily harm following the incident at Victoria underground station on the afternoon of Wednesday July 11th last year.
Katie Weiss, prosecuting, told Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court: “He tried to alight the train at Victoria Station and was confronted by the defendant at the train doors who was getting on.
“The witness, Charlotte Thatcher, said the young couple including the defendant did not seem to be talking to each other; they just stood there.
“They stood in the middle of the door, completely blocking the passage of anybody trying to get on or off.
“She saw a verbal dispute between the two. It appears that Sir Christopher nudged past the defendant calling him a bastard.
“It seems that the witness heard the defendant say, ‘I’m not having this and got out of the train, ran towards Sir Meyer and with both hands pushed him with significant force.
“As a result of the push he fell on to the platform and was knocked unconscious for a number of minutes.
“He cannot remember the incident at all.”
The mother of the youth, now 17, of Hayes, west London, who has 10 A* to C GCSEs, was tearful in court as the prosecutor told how her son stayed with Sir Christopher before being arrested at the scene.
The veteran broadcaster, commentator and company director whose wife is a member of the House of Lords, said the attack had disfigured his eye and hand.
He was travelling northbound on the Victoria line to be with 30 students from the University of South Carolina for a course he was running at the Royal United Services Institute in Whitehall.
Sir Christopher, who was not present at today’s hearing, said in a statement to the court that he broke down in tears after well-wishers sent him flowers while he was being treated at St Mary’s Hospital in west London.
He said he had to cancel media appearances on the BBC and CNN as a commentator for US President Donald Trump’s visit to the UK, and cancel a visit to Hong Kong and Shanghai with his wife.
Writing six months after the attack, he said: “My wife saw me at my worst, covered in blood at A&E.
“I still have visible scars above my lip and hand. There’s also a lasting emotional impact.”
Brad Lawlor, in mitigation, said his client was angry because he recently had to give his dream of bcoming a professional footballer because of an injury.
He said: “He effectively had to give up a lifelong dream because of an injury.
“This was a momentary lapse of judgement by the defendant clearly a loss of temper resulting in a single push which has resulted in serious injury.”
The youth admitted causing grievous bodily harm when he appeared before Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on December 17.
Speaking after he admitted the charge, PC Maya Alayli, of British Transport Police, said: “The violence the defendant unleashed on his victim was appalling, and left him unconscious for a number of minutes.
“I am pleased that the man pleaded guilty to the charge, saving the victim a lot of unnecessary stress from having to attend court.”
After the conviction Sir Christopher said: “When I saw myself in the mirror I thought, ‘Jesus Christ, it’s Night of the Living Dead’.
“What really upset me was not the way I looked, but the fact my wife and two kids had to look at that. I did not feel clear of all these problems until probably November.
“I was very pleased [with the conviction]. I know I was pushed over in a deliberate assault. I feel that justice has been done.”
The attack happened just days after his wife, Catherine, was appointed to the House of Lords.
She said: “It was a terrible shock. I received a call from the police to say that my husband had been assaulted. Christopher was severely lacerated and bruised. For quite a while I was worried that he might be permanently disfigured.”
The sentencing hearing continues.
By Berny Torre