Finance professor, 51, accused of battering Old Harrovian businessman, 77, is cleared of assault after saying he was defending himself and the ‘victim’s’ claims of having an affair with his girlfriend, 28, were ‘a FANTASY’
A finance professor accused of battering an Old Harrovian businessman on the doorstep of his £2m Notting Hill home was today cleared of assault.
Prof Christopher Hennessy, 51, was charged with attacking sporting hospitality specialist Robert Titchener-Barrett, 77, leaving him with bleeding head wounds.
But Hennessy, who lectures at the ロンドン Business School, denied assaulting Mr Titchener-Barrett at his town-house on Portobello Road, 11月 2, 2019.
He was this afternoon acquitted by a jury at Aldersgate House Nightingale Court after deliberating for an hour.
Mr Titchener-Barrett told jurors he had a ‘proper affair’ with Hennessy’s Swedish girlfriend Fanny Forssell Forsberg, 28, after he hired the young architect to design a stained glass window.
But Hennessy’s barrister Trevor Burke branded the alleged victim a ‘psycho’ and said his claims of a sexual relationship with Ms Forsberg a were a ‘fantasy’.
Mr Burke claimed Mr Titchener-Barrett had stalked the couple and sent Ms Forsberg harassing messages on Twitter.
He said Hennessy was acting in self-defence, and Mr Titchener-Barrett had thrown the first punch, then put Hennessy in a bear hug.
Robert Titchener-Barrett, 上記, said he had a ‘proper affair’ with Fanny Forssell Forsberg, 28
Swedish-born architect Fanny Forssell Forsberg, 28, who Hennessy told the court was with him when he went to Mr Titchener-Barrett’s home to return gifts
Professor Christopher Hennessy, 51, was today cleared of assaulting Robert Titchener-Barrett, 77, at house
Mr Burke said: ‘I’m here defending a 51-year-old man of impeccable character.
‘A 0.5cm wide cut, it’s a hugely disproportionately big deal for him. On the face of it, it’s a trivial crime, but to him, it’s massive.
‘He risks, maybe a small risk, but on the face of it he risks losing his good name, his reputation, his good character, which he holds very dearly.
‘The question is if he was, or may have been, acting in self defence, he is not guilty.
‘Mr Hennessy is now 51, その後 49, he is what lawyers call a man of good character, it doesn’t fit him that comfortably, because he is a man of impeccable character.
‘He has spent much of his life in an ivory tower of intellectuals, filled with bright students and intelligent colleagues.’
Mr Burke said Mr Titchener-Barrett had sent numerous threatening messages to Ms Forsberg, threatening to harm himself and saying God had told him to bring up her children.
The barrister said the elderly man had gone to the couple’s home on 1 11月 2019, and told Mr Hennessy he was having anal sex with Ms Forsberg, which Mr Titchener-Barrett denies.
Mr Burke said Mr Titchener-Barret is ‘a manipulative bully of the very worst kind, who seeks to control everyone who comes into his orbit.
彼は続けた: ‘His attitude to women, defenceless women in particular, is prehistoric. He is cruel, and vindictive.
‘He will take your life and destroy it because it gives him pleasure.
‘There is no reasoning with him, no logic, to his actions, no compassion within him, and no-one can control him, no-one.
‘Christopher tried to reason with him, tried to speak to him, tried to reach him, 無駄に.
‘Christopher, with all his intelligence, was no match for this cunning man full of bile.’
Mr Burke said Mr Titchener-Barrett told the jury ‘a number of barefaced lies’, including that he had received stitches for his head-wound, which doctors had treated with glue.
The barrister said Ms Forsberg had put a baseball bat by the door to protect herself from Mr Titchener-Barrett, who was going to their home multiple times a day and messaging her in the middle of the night.
Court heard Hennessy exploded after hearing older man, 上記, had slept with his lover
Ms Forsberg told Hennessy about the messages, そして、言いました: ‘Don’t be jealous, he’s old and disgusting’, 裁判所は聞いた.
The court heard Ms Forsberg was cuddling with Hennessy on the sofa at night when the doorbell rang, which made the architect say: ‘How does he know where I live, I never told him.’
Mr Burke said: ‘His message is, if you don’t do exactly what I say, I will destroy you.
‘He had followed her home, he was stalking her, harassing her, and that was not enough.’
Mr Burke told the jury Mr Titchener-Barrett sent messages to Ms Forsberg saying she had ‘f-cked him and thrown him away’, 彼はそれを否定します.
She later sent him a message saying ‘we want nothing more to do with you, do not contact us again’, 裁判所は聞いた.
Mr Burke said: ‘She can’t even walk her child around the block, without this lunatic jumping out of the bushes.
‘This has wrecked havoc on his family, he has destroyed them and, with the Covid problem as well, it has been torture for over two years. He is a liar, a fantasist, wholly unworthy of belief.
Mr Burke told the jury: ‘You know what to do, do it.’
Prosecutor Alexander Agbanu said: ‘Never am I going to pretend Mr Titchener-Barrett is someone who has acted commendably at any time during the time he was communicating with the defendant’s partner in the backstory of this case, the communications speak for themselves.
‘The injuries of Mr Titchener-Barrett were entirely consistent with Mr Titchener-Barrett placing his hands in front of his face to protect his face.
‘What he described could be seen as an instinctive response to being punched in the face.
‘The defendant’s injuries appear to be consistent with someone trying to grab the defendant to keep him under restraint.
‘We know that Ms Forsberg was present, and the defendant in his own words says that she untangled him from Mr Titchener-Barrett.
‘Doesn’t that sound like a benign way of saying she pulled him away?
‘The prosecution submit that there was provocation, that caused the defendant to act as an aggressor, and in fact he was not acting in self-defence.’
Hennessy, of Redcliffe Square, West Brompton, denies assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Titchener-Barrett is an alumnus of Oxford’s Brasenose College, and a former fast bowler for Middlesex County Cricket team
Hennessy is a former Associate Professor and Finance Area Chair at the Walter A Haas School of Business at the University of California in Berkeley and a research fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research.
裁判官, Mr Recorder Jeremy Dein, QC, had described Mr Hennessy to the jury as an ‘academic and truly an honourable gentleman.’
彼は言った: ‘Robert Titchener-Barrett is 77, and he is you may think, a detestable individual, and the prosecution have all but conceded that, but he is also entitled to a jury verdict according to the evidence.’
The judge called the case ‘a classic example of why we have juries in this case’.
Jurors heard Mr Titchener-Barrett had contacted Ms Forsberg the day before the trial was expected to begin last year and contacted her again before the trial began on Monday.
He claimed he was ‘just trying to find out, out of curiosity, what she was up to’.
Hennessy drew the sign of the cross on his chest before the jury walked into the room then embraced his barrister after the verdict was announced.