£900 fine for hedge fund lawyer who ‘lost his temper’ and punched opera-goer in row over seat

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By Thomas Connelly on

Attack occurred at Royal Opera House

London’s Roya Opera House

An opera-loving lawyer has been fined £900 after attacking at top designer during a performance of Wagner at the Royal Opera House in London.

Matthew Feargrieve, 43, an investment funds lawyer, was found guilty of punching Ulrich Engler at least once during a row over an empty seat at the Covent Garden venue on October 7, 2018.

City of London Magistrates’ Court previously heard how Feargrieve “lost his temper” when Engler, whose fashion conscious clients reportedly include the Countess of Wessex and Princess Alexandra, moved from his seat in row B to an empty seat in row A, shortly before the third performance of the Ring Cycle by Wagner started.

Giving evidence last year, the fashion designer said he had asked Feargrieve’s partner, Catherine Chandler, whether he could sit in the vacant seat next to her. When she objected, Engler asked her if she had paid for the seat, to which she responded no. He then picked up her coat and placed it on her lap before sitting in the seat.

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“By then the conductor was up and the music started and I received blows to my left shoulder,” Engler told the court. “I only then turned around and saw Mr Feargrieve standing up an assaulting me. They were a constant flow of blows. They were very hard.”

But Feargrieve, a former partner at London law firm Withers, said it was Engler who had started the row, claiming the fashion designer had thrown his partner’s coat on the floor and pushed her as she bent down to pick it up.

Feargrieve denied assault but was found guilty at City of London Magistrates’ Court last December.

Appearing before Westminster Magistrates’ Court earlier today, the Oxford-educated lawyer was ordered to pay a fine of £900, costs of £775 and £500 in compensation.

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