Man filmed accosting Chris Whitty in street claims he’s been sacked from job

A man who grabbed Professor Chris Whitty in the street has lost his job at an estate agent's, it has been reported.

Lewis Hughes and his pal Jonathan Chew, both 24, were branded "despicable thugs" by Prime Minister for manhandling England's chief medical officer, who has been one of the key figures during the coronavirus crisis.

Hughes apologised for his actions and told the Sun: "I've paid the price with my job."

He said that he and friends had been on an anti-lockdown march in London on Sunday when they spotted Professor Whitty, 55, at around 3pm in St James's Park.

The pals filmed the encounter, with the 18-second clip sparking outrage when it went online and was viewed around the world. It has been viewed more than 500,000 times.

Hughes, who worked for Caplen Estates in Buckhurst Hill, Essex, admitted to having a couple of drinks before approaching Professor Whitty.

He told the Sun: "I absolutely apologise for any upset I caused. If I made him feel uncomfortable, which it does look like I did, then I am sorry to him for that.

"To be honest I just wanted a selfie with Chris Whitty to show my mum. There was no malicious intent, I didn't want to upset him.

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

He added that he felt let down by the Prime Minister for calling him a "thug".

Hughes, from Romford, east London, said the police have told him they will not be taking further action.

The Metropolitan Police, who took the pair's details, said they were still investigating the incident, recorded as a common assault.

  • Chris Whitty struggles to escape after 'thugs' grab chief doc in 'disgusting' footage

But England's top medic told cops not to press charges despite being harassed four times in recent months, including another incident where anti-lockdown protesters yelled "murderer" outside his house.

A police spokesperson said: "We are aware of a video being shared online showing an incident that took place in St James' Park at around 19:20hrs on the evening of Sunday.

"Officers were in the vicinity policing a nearby demonstration and intervened when they saw what was happening.

"They spoke to the victim and checked his welfare. He had not suffered any injuries and informed officers that at that time he did not wish to make any allegations. He then went on his way."

Hughes's friend Chew said he suffered from ADHD and autism, adding: "Sometimes things seem a good idea and really they're not.

"I don’t think we did anything wrong. We just saw him, and thought: "That’s the guy from the TV. He’s famous'."

He added that the pair "just wanted a selfie".

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