Curry house customer tells court how owner threw chilli in his eyes

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A customer has told how a curry house owner threw chilli powder in his eyes after he complained about "rubbery" and "shiny" tandoori chicken.

Chef Kamrul Islam, 47, is accused of causing actual bodily harm to David Evans when he was dining at the Prince of Bengal in Tonypandy, South Wales, on January 21 last year.

The jury at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court has been told there is no dispute that Islam threw the chilli powder in Mr Evans' eyes but he claims he was acting in self defence.

Chef Kamrul Islam arriving at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court where he is accused of attacking a customer by throwing chilli powder into his eyes (Ben Birchall/PA)
Chef Kamrul Islam is accused of attacking a customer by throwing chilli powder into his eyes (Ben Birchall/PA)

Mr Evans, of Tonypandy, went to the restaurant, which he had visited about six times before, with his wife Michelle at about 6pm.

He said the couple ordered lager and wine before choosing their dishes from the menu.

"We ate the starter - it wasn't quite right but we didn't complain," he said.

"I ordered chicken tandoori, my wife ordered a chicken dish as well. We started eating our food.

"It tasted rubbery and like paraffin. It was shiny. I go to lots of Indian restaurants and I have never tasted food like that before."

Mr Evans said a "polite" young waiter came to check on their food and the couple told him it "wasn't quite right".

The waiter brought over a chef, who was also "very nice", before a second chef came to the table with Mr Islam - the restaurant owner.

"He seemed very irate," Mr Evans told the jury.

"He said 'what's the problem here?'.

"I just said 'the chicken doesn't seem right'. He said 'there's nothing wrong with the chicken'.

"My wife said 'it's supposed to be tandoori'. He said 'it is f****** tandoori'. I said 'there's no need to speak like this'.

"My wife showed him a menu and he grabbed the menu out of her hand and said 'what do you f****** know about tandoori chicken?'.

"I said 'excuse me, there's no need to speak to my wife like this'. It was honestly awful.

"My wife put her hand on his hand and said 'it doesn't need to be like this'. The chef said 'get your f****** hand off me'."

Mr Evans said a woman, who he now knows is the defendant's wife, came over and apologised.

Islam then allegedly wrongly claimed that he had met Mr Evans before and said he only wanted a "free meal".

The owner then walked towards the kitchen, with Mr Evans getting up from the table and following him.

"I wanted an apology for the way he spoke to my wife, that's why I followed him to the kitchen," Mr Evans said.

"I said 'can you please apologise to my wife for the way you were speaking to her?'.

"I did what any decent man would have done. I demanded an apology. He marched off.

"I turned around and that's when he threw the chilli powder in my eyes."

Jurors have previously been told that Mr Evans immediately doubled up in pain and was taken to hospital.

A saline drip was used to clean his eyes and he was found to have suffered burns when the spice landed on him.

Islam, of Llewellyn Street, Pentre, was arrested later that night.

In interview he told officers he acted in self-defence because he thought Mr Evans was going to attack him, and denied swearing at the couple, the court was told.

The trial continues.