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Manager 'hit and racially abused'


The Groucho Club is frequented by celebrities

The Groucho Club is frequented by celebrities

The Groucho Club is frequented by celebrities

A cross-dressing art curator allegedly punched the manager of an exclusive celebrity private members club in London's Soho after calling her a "fat Polish bitch", a court heard.

Milovan Farronato, 41, from Milan, Italy, left Agnieszka Sikorska with a cut nose following the fracas during a party in the Groucho Club.

It is claimed that Ms Sikorska was attacked when she asked Farronato and two other guests at the arts and media club to leave a private members' bar in the early hours of May 9 last year.

Well-known members of the Groucho Club reportedly included the late Terry Pratchett, Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher, actress Rachel Weisz and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg.

Farronato, who is the director of the Fiorucci Art Trust in west London's Sloane Avenue, appeared in the dock at Westminster Magistrates' Court with his hair tied in a bun wearing red lipstick, eye liner, a leather jacket decorated with hearts, black trousers and heels.

The court heard that on the day of the alleged attack he had been to an event organised at the club by the Pace gallery wearing 12 inch high heels, make up and a see through polka dot top.

Prosecutor Abigail Welsh told the court: "This is an allegation of physical violence. It is alleged that this defendant hit the alleged victim and racially abused her at the time.

"There was a private party taking place at the Groucho Club, which the defendant attended, and the alleged victim is a manager at the Groucho Club.

"After the party had finished the defendant made his way to a bar in a private members' area.

"The alleged victim went over to explain to the defendant that he wasn't permitted to be in that area.

"This led to an exchange of words between the parties which resulted in this assault."

Giving evidence behind a curtain, Ms Sikorska broke down in tears as she claimed that the defendant had punched her "two or three times" on the nose after asking her where she was from and calling her a "f****** Polish fat bitch".

Giving her version of the assault, she said: "He grabbed my hair and there were two or three hits. I didn't know what was happening."

Later she added: "The next thing I remember I was behind the bar with two guys who were cleaning my face and putting a napkin with ice on it."

Ms Welsh asked: "Were you able to see how the defendant hit you? Was it open or closed?

"I think it was closed," the witness replied.

The court was shown a picture of Ms Sikorska's bloody nose and swollen eye following the attack.

She said that a first a doctor had told her that the nose appeared to be broken but an X-ray later showed it was not.

And she claimed that it was "mostly emotionally" that she had been affected by the attack.

"When I was a kid I lost my eye, so I already have got half of my face looking this way," she said.

"After being attacked I have more scars and look worse than I already did."

Farronato denies racially aggravated assault by beating.