Lifestyle manager says assault outside Shepherd’s Bush pub where woman’s leg was broken was ‘accident’ – Evening Standard

James Stephenson was on a night out with friends when he allegedly attacked journalist May Woods outside the Defector’s Weld
luxury lifestyle manager accused of breaking a woman’s leg in two places by deliberately pushing her to the ground insists it was an accident when he slipped and fell, a court heard.
James Stephenson, 37, was on a night out with friends when he allegedly attacked journalist May Woods as she shared a cigarette with his girlfriend outside a west London pub.
A sobbing Ms Woods told Southwark crown court she recalls being “slammed from the back” and ending up in agony on the ground, accusing Stephenson of deliberately pushing her in an incident caught on CCTV.
“From nowhere I remember someone coming behind me, and I remember feeling a whoosh, a good push – mad hard”, she said, adding that afterwards Stephenson “didn’t say sorry, seem concerned or care”.
Stephenson, who runs exclusive lifestyle management firm Tatlocks, is now on trial charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm but denies a deliberate attack, insisting he slipped over and accidentally collided with Ms Woods when his leg buckled underneath him.
The incident happened at roughly 2am on December 5 last year, when Stephenson’s girlfriend Joanna Hunt was outside the Defector’s Weld pub in Shepherd’s Bush with Ms Woods.
Jurors heard Ms Hunt had asked to share a cigarette and they were hugging and chatting amiably in the moments before Stephenson came outside.
“He pushed May Woods which caused her to fall and break her leg”, said prosecutor Amelia Katz, telling jurors: “Your job is to decide whether you accept the defendant pushed Ms Woods on purpose.”
Footage shows both women and Stephenson crashing to the ground, before others in the pub came outside to investigate and tend to Ms Woods, then 27, as she lay prone on the ground.
Stephenson insists he was apologetic and explained at the time that it had been an accident.
The prosecutor said Stephenson, identified by his distinctive green jacket, was arrested ten days after the incident and admitted in police interview that it was him on the footage.
“He said he came outside to get his girlfriend, slipped and fell into the two women”, said Ms Katz. “He denied he meant to push her.”
The court heard Stephenson and his girlfriend had been celebrating a friend’s birthday that night, while Ms Woods was at the pub with friends for a DJ set by her boyfriend Liam.
Giving evidence, Ms Woods said Ms Hunt had been obviously drunk and she was “holding her up” as they chatting, as she stood facing away from the pub exit.
“I was slammed from the back, it was a huge surprise, I didn’t see him coming at all”, she said, claiming Stephenson had shouted “what the f*** are you doing” just before the push.
Defence barrister Sallie Bennett-Jenkins KC suggested Stephenson’s foot “skid” as he was leaving the pub, sending his right foot to one side and his left foot “buckling under him”.
“I didn’t see what his feet did”, replied a tearful Ms Woods, adding: “Looking at the CCTV shows what he did.”
The court heard Ms Woods boyfriend punched Stephenson in the face, knocking him to the ground, in the aftermath of the incident.
Ms Woods spent around two hours lying on the ground waiting for an ambulance, and after being told paramedics were not coming she took an Uber to hospital. She needed surgery for fractures to her tibia and fibula.
Stephenson, who lives in South Kensington, denies inflicting grievous bodily harm.
The trial continues.
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