Estate agent who accosted Professor Chris Whitty sacked from his job

Lewis Hughes (right)

An estate agent from Essex has reportedly been sacked from his job after being seen grabbing Professor Chris Whitty around the neck last weekend.

Lewis Hughes, a negotiator at Caplen Estates in Essex, has been exposed as one of the two men spotted in a video, circulating on social media, harassing the Chief Medical Officer for England in central London following an anti-vax march on Sunday.

Hughes, who previously worked for Savills and Butler & Stag, and his friend, Jonathan Chew, both 24, spotted Prof Whitty, 55, in St James’ Park.

The pair were seen grabbing the famous scientific officer as he attempted to pull away and escape. At one point in the video, one of the men appear to try to put him in a headlock.

The 18-second video brought widespread criticism, including from prime minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson said: “I’m shocked at seeing the despicable harassment of Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.

“I condemn the behaviour of these thugs. Our hard-working public servants should not have to face this kind of intimidation on our streets and we will not tolerate it.”

Lewis Hughes

As Prof Whitty attempts to walk away, the men grab him again. With a line of police vans visible in the background, a voice is heard saying “Leave the gentleman alone” before the clip ends.

Home secretary Priti Patel called the footage “appalling” and said that officials are looking at support available to Prof Whitty.

“I’m just horrified by that, I really am,” she told Times Radio Breakfast.

“Chris is just a remarkable public servant, a man who has been leading the whole coronavirus response – nationally, yes, he has a high profile, and I think he’s an incredibly respected figure.

“I’m horrified by what has happened to Chris and the police are actually involved as well and we’re also speaking to Chris to look at what we can do to support him, it’s just appalling.”

Despite widespread criticism, the estate agent insists he meant no harm.

Lewis told The Sun: “There was no malicious intent, I didn’t want to upset him.”

Professor Chris Whitty

“I absolutely apologise for any upset I caused,” he added. “If I made him feel uncomfortable, which it does look like I did, then I am sorry to him for that.

“He is quite a timid, shy person and I think that is why he didn’t say, ‘Get off me’. If he had said that and I had realised how he felt, I wouldn’t have put my arm round him.

“I put my arm around him but he started moving away so my arm ended up going around his neck more.”

He continued: “I feel very let down by Boris, for him to call me a thug. I actually voted for him as well.

“I have worked every day of my life since I left college, I have never been in any trouble. Now I have to start from the beginning again and I loved my job.”


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  1. AlwaysAnAgent

    These two need to emigrate at they will never live this down.

    Not that I am a fan of Whitty, but his personal space should have been respected.


  2. JordanBrooks88

    Classic Tory – no shame

  3. ComplianceGuy

    I think the headline is a bit unfair PIE; “attacked” – there was an accost, not an attack. Very different.
    This is a shame for all involved.
    It is very clear that Mr Whitty was uncomfortable, and yes that should have been a sign for the two men to back off.
    Equally, it is clear that the men were not looking to harm him (no words/verbal abuse, big smiles and cheers), and were acting as one might with friends at a football game.
    Mr Whitty clearly feels it was the latter hence, at the time and since, not wanting to take any action.
    So, it’s a shame that Mr Whitty was made to feel as uncomfortable as he was (as I’m sure all “celebrities” do when accosted in public by both the public and paparazzi), and it’s a shame for the two guys who have now, evidently, had their lives turned upside down.

    1. Certus

      Common assault is now on their record, got let off with a warning so rather lucky I’d say, bearing in mind the publicity. They were thugs! CPS can still prosecute so theyll be unemployable and looking over their shoulders for a while yet.

    2. PossessionFriendUK39

      Anybody,  let alone a respected 50+ year old academic being put in a Headlock by 2 Drunken yobs –  is an ASSAULT. If Mr Whitty didn’t want to press charges ( disappointingly )  then Police should have taken Positive Action and arrested the two for being Drunk and Disorderly in a public place.
      Police tolerance of public disorder is almost as appalling as the physical attack  ( lets not mince words,  that was what it was ) on this innocent man.

    3. jan - byers

      If that is how you behave after a few drinks at a sporting event you are as much scum as they are

  4. Rob Hailstone

    If someone had invaded my space like that, I think I would have pushed back, that could of course have escalated matters. Professor Whitty was in a no-win situation and humiliated publicly. Their behaviour was boorish and despicable. Lucky if they get away with only their jobs being lost.

  5. Paul Long181181

    How many clients will walk away from Caplen Estates now and not want to be associated with this agency who employ utter idiots?

    Chris Whitty may not be everyone’s cup of tea but he has had an impossible job to do in this country in the last 18 months

    1. AgencyInsider

      Bit unfair to blame the employer – who has taken swift and decisive action and sacked the employee. I applaud them and hope they will not lose any business at all.

    2. PossessionFriendUK39

      @Paul Long,  –  I think many ‘ would have ‘  if Caplens  hadn’t taken the positive action they have done.
      I believe many will now use them actually because they have tgaken a stance for ‘ decency ‘

  6. WiseOwl1

    He was assaulted. Serious criminal offence. CPS must act.

    1. PossessionFriendUK39

      Boris should invest some of the money his ministers are trousering from shady PPE deals with their mates,  into a Private prosecution against these pair of yobs.

  7. Robert_May

    “I feel very let down by Boris, for him to call me a thug“-  Boo Hoo you! You are a thug; a selfish, bad mannered, un-thinking thug who put his desperate need for a selfie (insert w@nker emoticon) before anything else.

    1. jan - byers


  8. smile please

    Silly boy. Bit of luck he learns and grows up.


  9. Gangsta Agent

    T W A T

  10. Woodentop

    Mum must be so proud of you!

  11. Russell121

    Fancy grassing yourselves up for being drunk idiots by posting on SM. Should be sacked for being a bit thick.

  12. itsgreatupnorth

    Lewis Hughes, I hope you are reading this. You are a DISGRACE to yourself, your family, and your former employers. If he was really any good at his job they would have found a way to ride the storm but clearly someone at the top of Caplen was happy to see the back of this piece of trash who no doubt spends a serious amount of his time “out of his mind”. Well you have got what you deserve. Idiot. I have heard Asda are looking for trainee butchers. Get yourself along.

    1. PossessionFriendUK39

      @itsgreat up north   –   That’s the most sense I’ve heard for a while,  proper order.

      Trust is long and hard-earned and quickly lost, – especially if your a drunken Pi$$-head

  13. PeeBee

    “I feel very let down by Boris”

    Awwwww, diddums.

    Nearly seventy million inhabitants of the UK feel “very let down” by you – especially those working in the Estate Agency sector.

    Hope that balances things a bit for you.

  14. jan - byers



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