CCTV footage of chef throwing chilli powder in customer’s face played to jury
Kamrul Islam is on trial accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
A jury has seen CCTV footage of the moment a chef threw a “large fistful” of chilli powder in the face of a diner who had complained about “rubbery” chicken in his meal.
Indian restaurant owner Kamrul Islam is on trial accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on David Evans, who he threw the spice at on January 21 last year.
Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard Islam started swearing at Mr Evans and his wife Michelle after they complained about the meat in their curries in his restaurant the Prince of Bengal in Tonypandy, South Wales, which they said was “tough, rubbery, shiny” and tasted of paraffin.
Jurors were told the confrontation started at the pair’s table.
The CCTV footage, played in court on Wednesday, shows the moment Mr Evans followed Islam, as he walked away from the table to the kitchen.
Mr Evans can be seen standing in the doorway of the kitchen, opening the door and pointing before Islam appears to throw a red powder.
Giving evidence Islam thought the couple were accusing him of mis-selling his food and that Mrs Evans “grabbed” his hand, was shaking it and swearing at him.
He said he was “very frightened” as he walked away from the table and could hear Mr Evans shouting about his wife.
He said: “Lots of people say to me ‘why not run away’ but my wife and kid were there so I cannot run.”
Islam said he picked up the chilli powder to defend himself from Mr Evans.
He added: “I ran to get the chilli powder because I wanted to get it before he grabbed me… it wasn’t in case (he came for me) because he was coming.”
Islam said Mr Evans clenched his fist in the doorway and was shouting before he threw the chilli powder because he thought he was going to be attacked.
Earlier, Mrs Evans told the jury the evening was “the worst experience I have ever had out with my husband”.
She said she “certainly wasn’t drunk”.
The court heard Mr and Mrs Evans ordered two Cobra beers and two bottles of wine but the couple said the second bottle of wine had not been started.
The couple told jurors Islam was irate and aggressive and Mr Evans said he only followed Islam because he wanted an apology for his wife but had not clenched his fist and had “no intention of doing anything of that sort”.
Mrs Evans told the jury that she posted on Facebook about the incident the following day because she “wanted to tell the people of Tonypandy and the surrounding area that if they went there this is what they might be treated like”.
The court heard in the post Mrs Evans wrote that she saw Islam pick up a bowl of chilli powder through the glass of the kitchen.
Answering questions from Ruth Smith, for Islam, she said she had not seen the footage at the time she wrote it and that it was a “large fistful”.
Mrs Evans said her husband “doesn’t shout” and it would be very out of character for him to act aggressively and that he was asking for an apology over the way Islam spoke to her when the incident happened.
Mr Evans previously said he was “very angry” but was not the aggressor in the situation.
When asked how he would describe the feeling of having chilli powder in his eyes, Mr Evans said: “Horrific, that’s the only way I can describe it.
“At first I thought you hear about these acid attacks.
“It was that bad a pain. I had just had a grandson two weeks ago and my first thought was I’m never going to see him again.
“That’s how bad the pain was.”
Jurors have previously been told that Mr Evans immediately doubled up in pain and was taken to hospital.
A saline drip was used to clean his eyes and he was found to have suffered burns when the spice landed on him.
Islam, of Llewellyn Street, Pentre, was arrested later that night. He denies assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The trial continues.