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Kingston nightclub owner admits violent attack on ex-girlfriend caught on CCTV
Franco Lumba outside Westminster Magistrates' Court where he was told he was lucky to avoid prison for attacking his ex-girlfriend
The former owner of the Gala bingo hall dragged his ex-girlfriend to the ground by her hair and slapped her in the face during a ‘nasty’ car park assault.
Franco Lumba, who owns Essence nightclub by Kingston riverside, narrowly avoided a prison sentence today for the attack.
He was handed a 12-month community order and ordered to do 240 hours of unpaid work earlier today at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Lumba, 46, who lives in St Margaret’s Road, Twickenham, had denied common assault but was convicted after a trial earlier this year.
The court today heard Lumba’s girlfriend, Amanda-Jane Hunter, 27, did not tell police about the attack on January 6, but that CCTV footage was found by officers investigating a separate complaint.
The Surrey Comet understands that she did not co-operate with the prosecution but is no longer with Lumba.
CCTV shown to the court pictured the pair arriving at the Hilton Park Lane hotel, the attack, the arrival of security guards and the couple leaving in a white Mercedes.
Defending, Neville Gray said Lumba was a single father of two teenagers, and was under pressure at the time of the assault due to other legal proceedings.
Mr Gray said: “He now owes a significant amount of money. He still has substantial debt. Mr Lumba by nature is optimistic as regards his business acumen.
“I cannot portray Mr Lumba as a man of complete honesty or integrity.”
Prosecutor Robert Short said: “All of the actions were down to the defendant. It is all his responsibility.”
Judge Elizabeth Roscoe told Lumba: “This was a nasty incident. I have seen the CCTV.
“The incident takes place while Miss Hunter was on the ground, which in my view is an aggravating factor.
“I accept there were no injuries.”
Judge Roscoe said she initially considered the attack worthy of a prison sentence. She added: “It was close.”
Lumba was also ordered to pay £620 costs and a £60 surcharge, and given seven days to pay up.
He declined to comment as he was leaving court.
Troubled times for Franco Lumba
Oct 2010: Tells Surrey Comet he will play “hardball” with opponents if they continue to block his plans to turn empty bingo hall into Kingston Arena, a 2,000-capacity licensed venue
Feb 2011: Arena planning application receives 230 objections, buoyed by Not Another Nightclub campaign and backed by north Kingston MP Zac Goldsmith
Jul 2011: Bar Essence closed for weeks by police due to concerns about antisocial behaviour
Sep 2011: Police reveal men chosen by Lumba to front Kingston Arena plans both have criminal backgrounds
Sep 2011: Councillors throw out Arena plans due to concerns about town centre crime levels after seven-hour licensing hearing.
Jan 2012: Assets frozen after money laundering and fraud charges brought. He is finally cleared of all charges by a trial jury in April 2013.
Feb 2012: Charged with “defiantly” demolishing the listed dance floor of the former Gala Bingo hall in October 2010. Eventually fined £75,000 in April 2013
April 2012: Appeal against Arena rejection lodged but later dropped
April 2012: Locks temporarily changed on Essence by landlord John Lewis
Aug 2012: Fined £26,000 after tribunal rules he unfairly dismissed another former girlfriend, former stripper Annemarie Harris, then 37, from her job running two night clubs in Windsor
Sep 2012: Drops plans for Arena and sells building to Kingston developer CNM Estates
May 2013: Declared bankrupt with £75,000 worth of debt. The High Court later annulled the order, saying it ought not to have been made