Royal Albert Hall exec attacked officers after drinking at Wimbledon

Royal Albert Hall exec attacked officers after drinking at Wimbledon

July 16, 2021

Royal Albert Hall sales exec, 27, got black-out drunk on free wine in the Wimbledon hospitality zone then spat, punched and kicked two female police officers who tried to help her to the loo

  • Laura Pannett became aggitated looking for toilet after leaving London venue
  • Officers attempted to assist but she became aggressive before she was arrested
  • Pannett apologised to the officers but said she has no memory of the incident
  • She received 12-month Community Order which includes 150 hours unpaid work
  • The 27-year-old was also ordered to pay total of £250 compensation to officers

Laura Pannett, 27, attacked two officers after leaving the Wimbledon Championships

A sales executive at the Royal Albert Hall kicked, kneed and spat at police officers after getting black-out drunk on free wine in the hospitality section at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, a court heard yesterday.

Graduate Laura Pannett, 27, was seen throwing her bags and possessions to the ground as she left the London venue in search of a toilet.

The officers had attempted to assist but she became aggressive and began aiming punches and kicks towards them before kneeing one of them in the groin.

Pannett was handcuffed and taken to Wandsworth Police Station where her aggression continued and she spat and kicked at officers again. 

She pleaded guilty to assaulting PC Maria Teixeira outside the All England Club and assaulting PC Jennifer Anderson at the police station on June 29.

Pannett, of Tooting Bec, has apologised to the officers but said she has no memory of the incident.

She was spared jail but received a twelve-month Community Order, which includes 150 hours unpaid work, and was also ordered to pay £150 compensation to PC Teixeira and £100 to PC Anderson.

Pannett is a senior sales executive at the Royal Albert Hall having graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a First Class Honours Degree in Sport Development and Coaching.

She also studied Sport Business Management and is a former Press Centre assistant with the London Marathon. 

Magistrate David Walker told her: ‘These offences are serious, against emergency workers who were trying to assist you.

‘We accept you are remorseful and embarrassed by this incident and that you are well-regarded by your employer and that this was out of character and driven by alcohol.’

Pannett pleaded guilty to assaulting PC Maria Teixeira outside the All England Club and assaulting PC Jennifer Anderson at the police station on June 29

The Royal Albert Hall are aware of Pannett’s prosecution and her manager sent a reference to the court.

Prosecutor George Cravelli told Wimbledon Magistrates Court: ‘The officers were on patrol at the All England Club during the Lawn Tennis Championships.

‘They identified a female spectator, who appeared to be highly intoxicated, throwing her bags and possessions to the ground.

‘She told them she wanted to use the toilet and they pointed her in the direction across the road.

‘When she reappeared she was aggressive towards the police officers, raising her arms and trying to punch and kick them.

‘Contact was made with a knee to the groin area and as a result she was arrested and taken to Wandsworth.

‘When she was being booked in she spat at officer Teixeira and assaulted officer Anderson by kicking her.

‘She was questioned and said she could not remember what happened and had too much to drink and behaved disorderly.

Cambridgeshire native Pannett, who attended Abbey College, told police: ‘I had far too much. I’ve acted this way before when I’ve been drinking.’

She confessed to consuming an excessive amount of wine and said her behaviour was out of character. 

‘Only when I drink too much,’ she explained. ‘I had way past two or three glasses.’

The sales executive at the Royal Albert Hall got black-out drunk on free wine in the hospitality section at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships (stock image), a court heard yesterday

Pannett was spared jail but received a twelve-month Community Order, which includes 150 hours unpaid work, and was also ordered to pay £150 compensation to PC Teixeira and £100 to PC Anderson

Pannett had no recollection of the incidents. ‘I can’t remember, I’m really sorry,’ she said. ‘I’m really sorry if I hurt someone, really sorry.’

Afterwards PC Anderson said: ‘This incident annoyed and disappointed me. I did not expect to come to work to be assaulted.

‘I was trying to assist Laura, but she has too much to drink and her behaviour was intolerable.’

Pannett’s lawyer Rashmi Hirani told the magistrates: ‘She was in the hospitality section at Wimbledon and the drinks were being topped up.

‘She was so drunk she could not remember her actions and she was extremely remorseful in interview and these offences are out of character.

‘Her drinks were constantly being topped-up and she could not keep tabs on how much she was drinking.

‘Clearly she was drunk and she was saddened listening to the statements and was breaking down on hearing her behaviour and activities on that day.’

Probation Officer Kehinde Akinjo told the court: ‘She was extremely drunk and attended an event where drinks were easily available through top-ups.

‘She does not remember the events of that day and is remorseful and during her appointment broke down in tears during the interview.

‘She usually only drinks on social occasions and behaved out of character that day.

‘She is highly educated with a good job, a graduate with two degrees.’

The court heard Pannett, who was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £95 victim surcharge, also has convictions in 2019 for battery and criminal damage, arising out of what she describes as a ‘toxic relationship’ with an ex-boyfriend.

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