Peckham shopkeeper goes into hiding amid protests outside his store after footage emerges of him grappling with woman

14 September 2023, 06:59

The footage of the shopkeeper grappling with a customer sparked outrage
The footage of the shopkeeper grappling with a customer sparked outrage. Picture: LBC/Social media

By Will Taylor

A Peckham shopkeeper has gone into hiding as he pleads with protesters to calm down after he was filmed grappling with a woman at his store.

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Sohail Sindho said he was not with his wife and had taken his three sons out of school because of the furious reaction at the video.

The 45-year-old has insisted he was trying to restrain her as she hit him with her shopping basket, and was not attempting to choke her.

Footage shows him grapple with the customer, a black woman, as she tries to free herself from his grip.

Read more: Police quiz man in Peckham after protest sparked as woman claims she was 'strangled' after being accused of shoplifting

It sparked a huge protest outside his shop in south London, Peckham Hair and Cosmetics, as he was accused of racism.

Now, Sindho says he has received threats from as far away as the US.

He told the Mail: "If it wasn't for my wife and three children I would walk right to the shop and out to the street and talk to the people, because I am very sorry about what happened.

"I want them to know that I was only trying to restrain her. I didn't mean to put my hands around her throat, and it was only for a few seconds.

Man chokes woman during confrontation in Peckham

"I do agree that I should not have done that. But I was trying to protect myself as she was hitting me as the video shows.

"Some people have said that it might have been racial because I am Pakistani and she is a black lady. That is absolutely not the truth.

"I want you to know that 99% of my customers are people of colour. They are like my family. I don't know what being racist means.

"I live and work in a multicultural place, and I am happy here and so are my family."

Read more: Sara Sharif’s fugitive father, stepmother and uncle arrested on suspicion of murder after return to Britain

Sindho said the woman wanted to get a refund for three wigs worth £7.99 but he told her the receipt said that was not possible.

He instead offered an exchange and then the confrontation broke out. He said he received a scar to his right eye and shoulder during the scrap.

In the video, the unnamed woman says: "Get off me, he's trying to strangle me. Get the f*** off me."Call the police! Call the police!... This man just strangled me!"

Angry protesters turned up at the store after the footage emerged
Angry protesters turned up at the store after the footage emerged. Picture: LBC

Both Sindho and the woman have been interviewed by police and released on bail.

He said: "I am hoping that I can meet with her and we can shake hands and reach a peaceful conclusion. I have two college degrees and am not a simple man. I have friends from as far as China and I don’t see people's colour. You could say that I am colour blind."

Hundreds of people showed up for the protest on Tuesday afternoon carrying placards saying "Keep your hands off black women", "Our investment ends here" and "Stop the violence against women".

The shop was shuttered and temporarily closed.

Anyone who witnessed the incident but hasn't yet spoken to police should call 101 quoting CAD 3943/11Sep.