A restaurant owner whom David Cameron befriended at Oxford has been convicted of attacking a customer.
Hugh Anderson, 67, who runs the Hi-Lo Jamaican Eating House on Cowley Road, was found guilty of unlawfully wounding Sean Tizard by jurors at Reading Crown Court last week.
He attacked Tizard outside the famed Cowley Road institution in the early hours of Sunday 3rd October 2010. A more serious charge of causing wounding with intent was dropped during the trial on judge’s orders.
Anderson has vowed to see his conviction overturned. He said: “I will appeal the court’s decision, it’s not true.”
Hi-Lo, opened in 1981, regularly played host to David Cameron and his friends while they were studying at Oxford. Anderson, who is also known as “Andy”, said that he had spoken to Cameron in Banbury around a year and a half ago.
In an interview with the Daily Mail in 2009, Anderson spoke about their shared interest in music. He said: “We talked about reggae, blues, jazz; all sorts of things.”
The Jamaican now faces sentencing on 10th May. He was accused of using a hacksaw to deliver a “rain of blows” on the victim by a witness who accompanied him to the bar. The defence alleged that the victim and his companion were inebriated and had been behaving badly before being ejected from the premises.
A spokesman for David Cameron distanced the Prime Minister from Mr Anderson. He said: “David Cameron used to visit the Hi-Lo café when he was a student, but that was rather a long time ago.”
However Anderson recalled that Cameron would visit the establishment “once or twice a week” and that he trusted the future Prime Minister to look after his young son.
He also said: “If I needed to go off and serve someone a drink I would leave Daniel on David’s lap.
“It would only be for a few minutes but it could happen up to 12 times a night. David never minded and I can remember him sitting with Daniel and getting him to count his fingers.”
Despite the recent court case Anderson remained keen to stay in touch with Mr Cameron. He commented: “I think he will come back to the restaurant one day.”
The legendary café is popular with many Oxford students, and regulars expressed surprise at his conviction.
Jennifer Mustapha, a third year at St Catz, said: “Andy’s always barging people around and shouting but that’s part of his charm. I wouldn’t have thought he would actually attack anyone.” Local resident James Styring added: “Andy can be rude but in an endearing way. I wouldn’t have thought him to be aggressive.”
Customers have reported being charged wildly different prices depending on Anderson’s mood. One Oxford student, who asked not to be named for fear of being overcharged, said: “Some of my friends are a bit less rasta than me and they always get charged more for their jerk chicken.”
This is not the first time the restaurant has been embroiled in controversy. Earlier this year the council suspended its live music licence while in 2010 officials tore down a smoking shelter which Anderson had been asked to remove.