In his first interview since being viciously attacked by a gang of four muggers in central London last week, F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone has reflected upon what he describes as 'a good whacking', and also one that he muses was 'completely stupid and uncalled for' as he would have 'handed over everything' had he only been asked.
Following dinner at a restaurant in the city, Ecclestone and his Brazilian girlfriend Fabiana Flosi had just arrived back at the former's Formula One Holdings headquarters on Princes Gate, Knightsbridge at about 10:30pm on Wednesday when they were confronted and set upon by the robbers [see separate story – click here
The Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive found himself punched repeatedly in the face, knocked to the ground and then kicked unconscious before jewellery was stolen from him and Flosi and the pair's assailants fled. Ecclestone was subsequently taken to hospital for treatment to a minor head injury and has been left with a badly-bruised, purple and swollen right eye. Flosi was thankfully unharmed.
“I'm feeling it now,” the recently-turned octogenarian – who is a diminutive 5'4” in stature – told the Daily Express
. “[It was a] bit painful; it was a good whacking. I drove, as I often do, and we had just got out of the car when suddenly these guys laid into me. They said nothing to me, just went on the attack, so there was no chance to feel scared or react. When I was on the ground I could hear Fabiana screaming for help, and I took a kick or two in the head and went unconscious.
“When I came to, there was blood everywhere from my head wound but I was lucky – they weren't worried about taking my eye out or head injuries when they were kicking. It was completely stupid and uncalled-for. If they had confronted me and asked for everything we had, I would have handed over everything in my pockets, my wallet, anything.”
Regarding his girlfriend's earrings, Ecclestone added that 'she could have taken them off in seconds, but they ripped them off', before rubbishing earlier reports that £200,000 of jewellery was stolen from the couple, reasoning: “They took our watches and a few other bits and pieces, but I never carry much money or expensive jewellery. Most of Fabiana's stuff was just personal from Brazil and not worth much. They won't be going far on what they took off us.”
The British billionaire was forced to cancel a shooting trip he had planned for the weekend with King Juan Carlos I of Spain, whilst suspects are still being sought and no arrests have yet been made over the incident. In a volte-face
on its previous assertion, London's Metropolitan Police has now said that 'officers do not believe the man was targeted because of who he is, and it appeared to be an opportunistic incident'.