A BROMSGROVE TV star was punched, hit with a baton and pepper-sprayed by a police officer as he sat in his van with his two children at a McDonald’s in Redditch.
Huntley Thawe, aged 48 and the handyman on Channel Four’s The Renovation Game, was meeting his ex-wife to pick his childrens’ passports when the confrontation took place.
However it was Thawe, who is from Bromsgrove but now lives in Elmley Close, Kidderminster, who found himself in the dock, accused of two counts of assault on a police officer, resisting an officer and using threatening or abusive words or behaviour.
At Redditch Magistrates Court on Wednesday he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The court heard on April 15 this year, police were called at 12.32am to McDonald’s on Clews Road in Oakenshaw where a silver Citroen Berlingo van was blocking a white VW Beetle.
Sarah Hurd, prosecuting, said Thawe was in the van with his two children, aged six and eight, to pick up their passports from his ex-wife, Anna Thawe, and had used abusive language towards her.
He was asked to move his car by two police officers but the defendant was ‘not cooperative and demanded the officers get the passports’, they then attempted to arrest him for breach of the peace and obstructing a highway.
Audio and video footage played during the trial seemed to show the defendant being dragged from the car by three officers and then being hit repeatedly with a baton.
PC Andrew Herlihy said he had tried to reason with the defendant, asking him several times to move his van.
“He was sitting in the car with both hands on the steering wheel. He started to talk over me and due to his demeanor I classed him as violent,” he said.
“I had my hand on his hand and he kept pushing it away, I got into the vehicle to try to pull him out.
“I sprayed non-compliant spray (pepper spray) but it had no effect.
“He took hold of me by my body armour and shirt collar so I struck him to the face with my right hand.”
Thawe was pepper sprayed twice more and when another officer arrived they struggled to get him to the ground.
“I drew my baton and struck the defendant on the arm as many times as it took him to release his grip on my body armour,” said PC Herlihy.
“I was seriously concerned for my safety.”
Thawe claimed the accusations of assault were ‘lies’ and at one stage stormed out of the courtroom.
Defending, Sarah Magill, asked PC Herlihy why he hadn’t talked to Anna Thawe to get the passports and whether he had noticed the defendant’s children in the car when he used the pepper spray.
She said Thawe had been sitting in his van and had not offered any violence, that he had been treated unlawfully and that any actions were in self-defence.
“Hitting someone with a baton, using pepper spray and punching someone in the head is excessive force,” she added.
Thawe was released on conditional bail.
The trial will continue on September 15.