Photographer accused of assaulting Muslim woman and calling her a terrorist

Cinnamon Heathcote-DruryA portrait photographer to the stars shoved a pregnant Muslim woman to the floor and called her a terrorist during a row in Tesco, a court heard yesterday.

Cinnamon Heathcote-Drury also branded the hijab-wearing woman’s family suicide bombers, it was alleged.

The 41-year-old, who has 11 portraits hanging in the National Portrait Gallery including exhibits of London mayor Boris Johnson and Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman, denies racially-aggravated assault.

She told a jury at Isleworth Crown Court that trouble began at the Tesco store in Kensington, West London, when she offered to help the woman, Mounia Hamoumi, and her husband unload their shopping trolley.

The court was told she had overheard the husband refusing to help his wife because he was too busy looking after their children. “I told him that is what feminism is all about, women helping women – and he told me to ‘get lost’,” claimed Heathcote-Drury.

But prosecutor Nermine Abdel Sayed said: “You took objection to that inequality didn’t you? Coupled with the woman wearing Islamic dress, you waded in and instigated the whole incident.

“When your offer of help was rejected you became more confrontational and you very quickly lost control and were shouting at them.

“Your tone was aggressive and you used the words ‘suicide bomber’ and ‘terrorist’, and told them: ‘I am a British citizen. I don’t know where you are from.’ You went to the woman and pushed her.”

Mother-of-three Mrs Hamoumi was six months’ pregnant at the time of the incident which happened on November 30 last year.

Heathcote-Drury is also accused of telling the family: “You’re probably claiming jobseeker’s [allowance].” She denied this and using any racist language, and said she was the true victim.

Daily Mail, 5 July 2012

Update:  The Mail reports that Heathcote-Drury has been acquitted. This might not have been unconnected with the fact that “the prosecution accepted during the hearing that she was a ‘wonderful person’ who was ‘eloquent and well-spoken’ and not a racist”.