Ex-boxer David Haye ‘grabbed man around throat and threatened to kill him’, court hears
Former World Champion boxer David Haye is accused of grabbing a man around the throat and threatening to kill him during a fracas at the Hammersmith Apollo, a court heard.
The 41-year-old is accused of confronting Nickesh Jhala at the west London venue on October 30, 2021 over “derogatory remarks” made about the boxer.
Haye denies assault, insisting he put his hand on Mr Jhala’s shoulder and had not issued a threat when they spoke.
Opening the case against him, prosecutor Jonathan Bryan told Westminster magistrates court the incident happened after Mr Jhala and his friends had been moved to a row of seats just behind Haye.
“For reasons that are not entirely clear, Mr Haye got out of his seat, climbed or stepped over the back of it, cross the aisle and approached Mr Jhala”, he said.
“It seems Mr Haye believed some of the people sitting behind him had been making derogatory remarks about himself and his girlfriend sitting next to him.
“We say what Mr Haye did was put his hand around Mr Jhala’s throat and threatened him.”
Giving evidence, Mr Jhala said: “He approaches me, leans down to speak into my ear, and he puts his hand around my throat.
“He said ‘say one more word and I’m going to kill you’.”
Mr Jhala, who was at the Apollo with his partner and cousin, said he “felt threatened and was shaking”.
“I said ‘I didn’t even say anything, what are you talking about?’”, he said. “He said on his way back ‘say one more word and I’ll kill you’.”
Mr Jhala said he “didn’t want to ruin the evening” by complaining, but made a report to the police online a few days later.
The court heard Mr Jhala’s cousin - a boxing fan - had tried to speak to Haye during the interval, but the former boxer “didn’t want to engage in conversation” with him.
Defence barrister James Scobie KC said Haye put his hand “on the shoulder at most”, telling the court: “There were no threats to kill, ever.”
He said witnesses are due to be called to dispute where Haye’s hand was placed and the words that were exchanged.
Haye, who is one of Britain’s most successful ever boxers, retired from the sport in 2018 with a record of 28 victories and just four defeats in his career.
He became a unified cruiserweight world champion in 2008, and claimed the WBA title in 2009 after moving up to heavyweight status. Haye also joined the 12th series of ITV’s I’m a Celebrity… in 2012, coming in third.
The former boxer, who is currently living in a central London hotel, was arrested after stepping off a plane on June 2 at Heathrow Airport.
He denies assault by beating. The trial continues.