Russian woman nicknamed 'Al Capone' cleared of assaulting cop

Russian woman nicknamed ‘Al Capone’ over her ‘reign of terror’ on neighbours is cleared of assaulting off-duty cop at pub after CCTV backed her claim that officer was even ‘more drunk’ than her

  • Olga Woolnough, 47, from Russia, known as the ‘neighbour from hell’ in Worthing
  • She claims to have links to Russian royalty and was given an ASBO in 2015
  • Appeared in court after being accused of assaulting a police officer in London
  • She insisted she acted in self-defence and has since been cleared of assault 

A Russian woman nicknamed ‘Al Capone’ for terrorising neighbours on the south coast has been cleared of assaulting an off-duty special police constable in a pub.

Olga Woolnough, 47, became known as a ‘neighbour from hell’ when she lived in Worthing after she threatened locals, held all-night parties and staggered around constantly drunk. She also painted her seafront home neon pink.

Ms Woolnough, who also goes by Alexandra and claims to have links to Russian royalty, was given an ASBO in 2015 – banning her from being drunk or having any alcohol in public.

She appeared at City of London Magistrates Court after being accused of assaulting special constable Adrian Bodenham at the Garrick Arms Pub on Charing Cross Road, central London.

Olga Woolnough, 47, became known as the ‘neighbour from hell’ when she lived in Worthing after threatening locals, holding all-night parties and staggering around drunk 

Nathan Paine Davey, prosecuting, said the officer was off-duty when the ‘heavily intoxicated’ Russian woman entered the bar.

‘The victim in this case saw her seemingly drinking from a bottle of wine he suspected had not been bought from the pub,’ said Mr Davey. 

‘She was confronted by other customers and then she tried drinking other people’s drinks.

‘It was at this point that Mr Bodenham said he decided he should get involved.

‘He took her outside the pub and then, in the course of that there was a struggle and the defendant pulled a punch with her fist closed which landed on his upper lip, which resulted in swelling.’

Mr Bodenham said that the fact she was wearing a red shawl or blanket made Ms Woolnough stand out.

‘I took her gently by the wrists behind the back,’ he said. 

The officer claimed that the way she was holding the wine bottle made him suspect that it was stolen.

Meanwhile, Ms Woolnough said: ‘I was trying to escape from him. I was trying to move my body away. He had no right to hold me.

‘His face was so red – I believe that he was more drunk than me.’ 

Ms Woolnough claimed the officer never let her go or tried to calm her down.

She insisted she acted in self-defence and she was cleared of assault by beating after the court was shown CCTV of the incident.

Magistrate Chair Karen O’Brien said: ‘Your version of events are clearly supported by CCTV.

Ms Woolnough sparked outrage in 2015 when she painted the former lifeboat house in Worthing bright pink 

The formerly neon pink home painted by Ms Woolnough has since been re-painted white after the woman sparked outrage among her neighbours for antisocial actions

‘It is clear that a struggle ensued which resulted in you being taken to and kept on the ground. Contact with the complainant did take place.

‘The force you used to release your arms was necessary and reasonable for self-defence. Your reaction was instinctive.’

Ms Woolnough, of no fixed address, wept as she was cleared of assaulting the special constable.

Earlier she had told the court: ‘I am so scared to even tell anyone I am Russian. I had to move to London for my own safety. In the suburbs if I tell anyone I am Russian they will just look at me with hatred.’

The court heard Ms Woolnough has 32 convictions for 67 offences but claims she has links to Russian royalty, as she shares her first two names with a Russian Grand Duchess and sister of Tsar Nicholas II who died in exile in 1960.

She has also claimed to have a liver condition so serious she will die if she has another drink.

In August 2015, the Brighton and Hove-based local newspaper The Argus shared an article titled ‘Painting house pink was ‘cry for help’, says Alex Capone’ – which details how Ms Woolnough sparked uproar when she painted the former lifeboat house in Worthing bright pink. 

Speaking to The Argus, Ms Woolnough said: ‘It was a cry for help.’ 

The local newspaper also posted an article in the same month, titled ‘Watch out Russia, Al Capone is coming back’. 

The article explained that the ‘nightmare neighbour’ who put residents through a ‘reign of terror’ returned to her motherland, Russia. 

The article also mentioned that Ms Woolnough was given an ASBO after drunkenly abusing neighbours and blasting music at late-night parties. 

According to the newspaper, a friend of Ms Woolnough said she was a ‘good girl’ and had left the country to ‘sort herself out’. 

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