Cafe owner fined and banned from flower shop after beating florists online for smoking

A ‘growling’ cafe owner has been fined and banned from a flower shop after he beat two florists in a row for smoking.

Businessman Rebaz Tahir, 44, attacked Gregg Kitson and Julie Bennett who run Hopmarket Flowers in Worcester after complaining the smell of his staff’s cigarettes was drifting into their store.

Tahir, owner of the nearby Black & White cafe, hit the couple repeatedly, leaving them with cuts and bruises on October 2 last year.

Ms Bennett, 55, told a court that Tahir was ‘growling’ when he attacked Mr Kitson by ‘beating and kicking’ him like a ‘wild animal’.

Cancer survivor Ms Bennett was also punched in the face as the couple desperately tried to force Tahir out of their shop.

Mr Kitson, 67, who had suffered a stroke just two weeks before the attack, was bloodied and bruised and required hospital treatment.

He said doctors told him the attack slowed his recovery from his stroke and that their business was shut down for four weeks.

Tahir was found guilty of two counts of assault by battery after a trial at Worcester Magistrates Court and was ordered to pay the two victims £150 compensation, £775 costs and a £95 victim fine surcharge.

He was also ordered to perform 200 hours of unpaid labor and banned from entering the flower shop for 12 months.

Rebaz Tahir (pictured) was fined and banned from entering a flower shop after he beat two florists in a row for smoking

Gregg Kitson, 67, who had suffered a stroke just two weeks before the attack, was bloodied and bruised and had to be hospitalized.

Gregg Kitson, 67, who had suffered a stroke just two weeks before the attack, was bloodied and bruised and had to be hospitalized.

Prosecuting Melanie Winterflood said: “Initially there was no altercation but later that day Tahir came through the door yelling at the couple.

“Mr. Tahir assaulted Ms Bennett, punching her on the back of the head and on the left cheek – which resulted in bruising.

“He then grabbed Mr. Kitson, punched him multiple times in the face.”

Ms Bennett, who has three children, said she and Mr Kitson had been traumatized by the ordeal.

She said: ‘Normally when people smoke they go to the other side of the courtyard but it was raining and they were right outside the back door.

“But we could feel it all day, so Gregg asked them to move. Rebaz was out within 30 seconds.

“He flew over Gregg like a wild animal. He was hitting him and hitting him.

“We had a friend in the store who came between Gregg and him and started walking Rebaz to the backdoor.

“But as he walked past me he punched me in the face and then hit me on the back of the head.

“We had to hold the back door, there were two of us, to prevent him from entering. He started slamming the back door when we locked it.

“A lady who lives nearby was awakened by the commotion. His staff was shouting ‘Non Rebaz, no!’

“He was like a wild animal out of control, I’ve never been so scared and I’m a cancer survivor. I survived breast cancer but it struck me down.

“The phone call to 999 was absolutely heartbreaking. The prosecutor said that even the greatest actress in the world could not act like this.

“Two weeks prior to this, Gregg had had a mini-stroke and had double vision. He couldn’t see.

“He couldn’t even make a cup of tea or cross the road on his own. Rebaz attempted to invoke self-defense. He should have pleaded guilty and saved us seven months of heartbreak.

Tahir owns the Black & White cafe, which is next to Hopmarket Flowers in Worcester

Tahir owns the Black & White cafe, which is next to Hopmarket Flowers in Worcester

A sign detailing the locations of Hopmarket Black and White Coffee and Flowers on the Foregate, Worcester

A sign detailing the locations of Hopmarket Black and White Coffee and Flowers on the Foregate, Worcester

Mr Kitson added: ‘We had seven months of waiting and it was very traumatic. Especially about Julie, she has nightmares.

“It was a disgusting attack that day. He was like a wild animal, he came growling, I’ll never forget him.

“I have always believed that truth and justice go hand in hand, and it has been proven.

“We are satisfied with the verdict, assault by blows. My only concern is any further repercussions from him.

“Rebaz burst in the back door swearing and asked if we spoke to his staff, to which I said ‘yes’.

“I was sitting in the store and he lunged at me and started beating me until blood started pouring out of my face.”

Harry Turner, chairman of the bench, said: ‘We believe these offenses are so serious that a community order would be the appropriate sentence.

“If you enter Hopmarket Flowers next year, there will be serious consequences.”

Mr Saqib, defending, said: “He accepts that he has been convicted, he accepts the sentence he is going to receive and will comply with all instructions of the court.”

Speaking from his cafe, Rebaz said: “There are two sides to every story.”

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