Master tailor who worked with Armani spared jail after assault

Master tailor, 41, who worked with Armani, Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana is spared jail after assaulting his girlfriend in drunken row outside Mayfair hotel

  • Richard Benettello was seen repeatedly banging Solankhe Tchikaya’s head on the pavement outside Mayfair hotel on May 27 last year
  • He pleaded guilty to assaulting the marketing and communication specialist 
  • Benettello has worked with Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry 
  • Benettello, of Fulham Road, West Brompton, given 12 month Community Order

A tailor who has worked with the world’s leading designer brands has been sentenced for bashing his ex-girlfriend’s head on the pavement outside a five-star Mayfair hotel. 

Richard Benettello was seen on top of 37-year-old Solankhe Tchikaya outside The Athenaeum, Piccadilly, holding her by the hair and repeatedly banging her head before being dragged away by hotel security staff. 

The 41-year-old, who has worked with Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry, claims that he and his ex-partner were both drunk after eating and drinking at a Peruvian restaurant on May 27 last year. 

He claimed he was guilty of nothing more than ‘excessive self-defence’. 

He later pleaded guilty to assaulting the graduate marketing and communications specialist. 

Richard Benettello, 41, (pictured) pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-partner and was placed on a 12 month Community Order, which includes a 10 day recommended activity requirement, plus attending a ‘building better relationships’ course.

Prosecutor Jennifer Gatland told Westminster Magistrates’ Court he had initially fought the charge and only pleaded guilty on the day of his trial, for which Ms Tchikaya was a defence witness. 

Benettello said they once dated but were dining as ‘friends’ at the nearby COYA Mayfair restaurant, which they left at half past midnight. 

‘Police were called to a report of a man hitting a woman in Piccadilly,’ she said. ‘The complainant was this defendant’s partner and witnesses heard screaming’.

COYA Mayfair manager Filomena Clarizio later told police: ‘I heard a scream and thought there was a fight by the hotel.

‘I noticed a couple and the male was on top. He had hold of her and was smashing her head on the ground.

‘Security pulled the male off the female, but he kept returning. The female went into the hotel and then I saw the male with the officers with blood on his hands.’

The court heard that the blood was not Ms Tchikaya’s and that she had no injuries.

 Ms Tchikaya told the witnesses: ‘He gets like that when he is upset,’ and Benettello said: ‘I did nothing.’

‘This is clearly a serious and nasty assault that took place,’ the prosecutor told the court. ‘Serious enough for members of the public to voice their concerns and call the police.’

The court also heard that Benettello received a twenty-six week imprisonment last December for boarding an airplane while drunk and assaulting three cabin crew. 

‘There is a background of police involvement with this couple and there were a number of incidents in 2019 that did not result in a charge,’ said Ms Gatland added.

‘On one occasion the defendant was threatening to harm the complainant, screaming at the top of his voice and kicking dustbins in the street.

‘In 2018 there was an argument in the street and another incident when he attended her address, having been discharged from hospital.

Solankhe Tchikaya, 37 (pictured) has not supported the prosecution of Benettello 

‘The victim was not willing to support any prosecution, including this one.’

Benettello’s lawyer Milad Shojaei told the court: ‘She was a defence witness and did not support the prosecution at the time. They were not in a relationship at the time of the incident and were just friends.

‘He is a fashion stylist and master tailor and had been working in Saudi Arabia and came to the UK on a visit when he was arrested for this and has been in limbo for the last fourteen months.

‘His employer is keeping his job open, but he has no financial support or any means of earning for the last fourteen months and has burned through his savings and borrowed from family and friends and can no longer pay his rent.

‘He has had some very dark times and has been feeling suicidal during the last fourteen months.

‘Mr Benettello has been going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, twice a day, for the last year to address his own offending behaviour and has been sober for the last thirteen months.

‘He accepts there was excessive self-defence when they were intoxicated and they had a stumble.

‘He accepts he behaved excessively. The paramedics confirm there were no injuries to her head and the blood was the defendant’s.’

Addressing Benettello, Magistrate Dr Lynne Gailey said: ‘It was a serious offence and we have been told there were no injuries, but it was a very nasty attack’.

Benettello, of Fulham Road, West Brompton, was placed on a 12 month Community Order, which includes a 10 day recommended activity requirement, plus attending a ‘building better relationships’ course. 

He must also pay £775 costs and a £95 victim surcharge. 

The magistrates scrapped a £100 compensation award to Ms Tchikaya because she did not support the prosecution and they had no details for her.  

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