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Benedict Cumberbatch and family 'left fearing for lives' as home attacked by knife-wielding chef
29 May 2023, 22:49 | Updated: 30 May 2023, 16:52
Benedict Cumberbatch and his family "were left fearing for their lives" when a knife-wielding chef attacked their north London home.
Mr Cumberbatch, 46, was in the house with his wife Sophie Hunter, 45, and their three young children when 35-year-old Jack Bissell kicked through the front garden's iron gate, and screamed abuse, shouting: “I know you’ve moved here, I hope it burns down”, a court was told.
Bissell, who had formerly been a chef de partie at the five-star Beaumont Hotel for two periods between 2017 and 2020, then pulled up a plant, and threw it at the garden wall, before spitting at the intercom and prising it loose with a fish knife, the court heard.
He fled from the scene but was arrested after DNA evidence was found on intercom, the Daily Mail reports.
A source close to the Cumberbatch family told the outlet: “Naturally all of the family were absolutely terrified and thought this guy was going to get in and hurt them.
"Naturally all of the family were absolutely terrified and thought this guy was going to get in and hurt them," adding: “Luckily it never went that far.
"Benedict and Sophie have had many sleepless nights since worrying that they may be targeted again.
"The fact that it was a targeted intrusion makes it a lot more scary.”
Bissell admitted criminal damage at Wood Green Crown Court earlier this month, and was given a £250 fine and a three-year restraining order which bans him from going near the family and the area they live in.
The prosecution told the court that before the attack, Bissell had purchased two packs of pitta bread from shop nearby, and told the shopkeeper he was going to break into the Sherlock star's house and burn it down.
It is not clear why Bissell decided to target Mr Cumberbatch's home, and he offered no defence in court.
Details of the case could not be reported until blanket restrictions were lifted.
Bissell has a previous conviction for theft, three warnings for offences against property, a public order offence and a drug offence.
In 2015, the year that Mr Cumberbatch bought the £3.5million house, Bissell was photographed being arrested shirtless during protests in central London against military intervention in Syria.
Bissell posted a photo of the arrest in In April 2021, with the caption: “Bad choice of underwear and very handsy police. One for the mantelpiece.”
He claims on his LinkedIn profile to have created a dish which is still on the Beaumont Hotel’s menu.
The Beaumont Hotel declined to comment on the matter.