Snapper attacked by thugs

It doesn’t happen very often, because most people aren’t that stupid, but occasionally someone who doesn’t want their photograph taken and decides that the best way to prevent it is to have a dig at the snapper.

However even if they threaten, or indeed carry out their threat, most photographers will continue to go about their jobs. Not only that most photographers will also press charges with the full backing of the publication that they are employed by. I had a situation back in 2001 where I was chasing a dodgy company director and his cronies for the Daily Mirror (actually for the Sorted Column) and tried to get a snatch of this guy a John Fallon who was being done at Woking magistrates course for “being a director whilst disqualified”. This guy had been featured in the Sorted column before and was back up before the beak.  John Fallon had employed a very “trick” legal team and had managed to keep having his case adjourned, which was good for us as it gave us an opportunity (or two) to get frames of him.

The first occasion I tried to get a frame of him I attempted to get him on a long lens however not knowing what he looked like it wasn’t particularly successful.

The next attempt was when he left court, however, he managed to catch me whilst I was dealing with a couple of Police Officers complaining about where I had parked my car, and he scarpered, I also gave chase (with 2 DCS520 with 20-35F2.8L and 70-200F2.8L and flashguns on board) but was unable to catch up with him, especially after his mate barged me into a brick wall.

His next court appearance was a few weeks later, and this time we decided a different approach was required,  so on the morning of his court appearance I waited outside his address and awaited for him to leave for court.

At about 1000hrs I got a phone call from the reporter who was at the court saying that Fallon and his mates had turned up at court all dressed identically and wearing Elvis Presley style wigs and Groucho Marx style glasses, moustaches and Cigars. So I raced over to the Woking Magistrates Court and waited outside to get images of the group as they left.

All four of them left the court at the same time and marched out, and I monstered them with the 20-35mm and a flash, one of them  waved and another stick his thumb up at me as they came through the court doors, so I dropped a few more frames.

The images weren’t going to make a great spread in the Sorted Column as you couldn’t identify which one as John Fallon. So I kept shooting and I spotted that one of them had a blonde pony tail so I kept focusing on him. As they approached their car they realised that they would have to take their masks off to drive away and guessed that I would keep shooting. Rather than do that they attempted to take my cameras from me and remove the film (not much chance of that happening seeing as I was shooting digital)

The four of them surrounded me and started laying in with their fists and boots, and still trying to take the camera equipment. Fortunately the whole incident was witnessed by two plain clothes police officers who dived in and arrested the four of them, within minutes dozens of officers where on the scene. And the four thugs were arrested, charged and prosecuted.

The great part is that instead of a small piece in the sorted column they ended up with a full page article and photographs taken during their trial for assault. Let this be a lesson, from a slap on the wrist to a criminal conviction in the time that it took to batter a snapper. Click on the news paper cutting for a larger image.

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