Millionaire sacks nanny for demanding money after injury from cooking lobster

16 February 2023, 12:09

When pressing down hard on a knife to prepare the lobster, Handford sustained the wrist injury that required an operation, six months of immobilisation and an additional six months of physiotherapy.
When pressing down hard on a knife to prepare the lobster, Handford sustained the wrist injury that required an operation, six months of immobilisation and an additional six months of physiotherapy. . Picture: Alamy

By Hannah Holland

A live-in nanny was sacked from his position at a £5m mansion after he tore his ligament while preparing lobster for her son's dinner and demanded she paid for the surgery.

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A millionaire's live-in nanny was fired for asking his boss to pay for his surgery after he injured his wrist while preparing a lobster dinner, an employment tribunal has heard.

Brian Handford tore his scapholunate ligament after he was asked to prepare and cook lobster for his employer, Yulia Shkop. Having never done it before, the self-described "Manny" or male nanny watched YouTube tutorials on techniques to cook lobster.

He was soon sacked from his role after an argument ensued when he requested that Shkop pay for the surgery and subsequent rehabilitation after the accident.

Handford tutored Shkop's eight-year-old-son at their £5 million home on the Wentworth Estate in Surrey for £36,000 a year - a role he said he had "a lot of fun" doing.

Former residents of Wentworth Estate in Surrey include Elton John and Bruce Forsyth. The estate lies next to the Wentworth club (pictured).
Former residents of Wentworth Estate in Surrey include Elton John and Bruce Forsyth. The estate lies next to the Wentworth club (pictured). Picture: Alamy

Alongside his role, which started in September 2020, Handford enjoyed free tennis lessons and access to the mansion's pool. However, beginning the job in the midst of the pandemic, he was forbidden from leaving the estate and even a visit to the supermarket would warrant a 5 day quarantine.

In February 2021, five months after moving in, Handford was asked to prepare two live lobsters after the house chef had finished for the day. He was told to freeze and cut the lobsters before boiling them so they wouldn't make a noise and upset Shkop's child.

When pressing down hard on a knife to prepare the lobster, Handford sustained the wrist injury that required an operation, six months of immobilisation and an additional six months of physiotherapy.

Watford tribunal heard that Shkop refused to take "any personal responsibility" for the incident, resulting in an argument and the break down of their working relationship. Handford was told to leave the premises two days later.

The tribunal accepted Handford's version of events, despite Shkop's claim he hurt his wrist while swimming. However, his claim of unfair dismissal failed because Shkop had a "loss of faith and trust" in Handford and felt that he "ignored in her view the generosity she had always offered".

The tribunal also dismissed Hanford's claim for an unlawful deduction of wages. It ruled in favour of his claim that Shkop was in breach of the requirement to provide an amended written statement, in relation to being unable to work due to sickness, but concluded that Handford was not in line for compensation.

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