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Man quizzed by police over 'jogger rage assault' is partner at Mayfair private equity firm

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 11/08/2017 BENEDICT MOORE-BRIDGER
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The man arrested over the “jogger rage” attack on Putney Bridge is a partner at a Mayfair-based private equity firm, the Standard can reveal.

Eric Bellquist, 41, was detained by detectives on suspicion of grievous bodily harm after a woman was pushed in front of an oncoming bus. However, he has denied being the jogger and says he was in the United States at the time of the incident.

Officers released dramatic CCTV footage of the incident this week in a bid to track down the jogger. Last night police arrested Mr Belquist at an address in Chelsea.

Video: UK police arrest jogger suspected of pushing woman in front of bus (Reuters)

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He was questioned at a south London police station and later released without being charged.

Bellquist, who is a graduate from the University of Colorado Boulder, works for Hutton Collins Partners, which owns restaurant chains Wagamama and Byron. He sits on the boards of the restaurant chains as a non-executive director. He previously worked for Lehman Brothers.

He is understood to have told detectives he is not the man in the video. He denies being involved and says he can prove he was in the US at the time.

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His lawyers, Duncan Lewis solicitors, told the Standard: “This statement is issued in relation to our client Mr Eric Bellquist, who was arrested yesterday in relation to an incident that took place between a male jogger and a female pedestrian on May 5, 2017, on Putney Bridge.

“Our client has been wrongly implicated in this matter; he categorically denies being the individual concerned and has irrefutable proof that he was in the United States at the time of the incident.

“Consequently we expect a swift resolution to this wholly untrue allegation.”

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His arrest came after a public appeal for information from the police.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Police investigating an assault after a jogger appeared to push a woman into the path of an oncoming bus in Putney have made an arrest.

A 41-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm following police enquiries at an address in the Chelsea area on the morning of Thursday, 10 August.

He was taken to a south London police station for questioning. He has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.”

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The woman, who lives in Putney, was walking to work on May 5 when the incident occurred.

The jogger had passed one man walking along a raised partition between the traffic and the pavement without incident, before appearing to angle his run towards the woman, who was walking towards him on the pavement. The CCTV footage shows him colliding with her, and she then falls into oncoming traffic. The bus misses her head by inches before stopping, as the jogger runs off.

She suffered bruising and back pain and was said to be “distressed and upset”.

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Sergeant Mat Knowles, of Wandsworth Police, said people had been in touch with him after the footage was released, reporting similar incidents across London.

Sgt Knowles said: “It is perhaps more prevalent than I had first thought. Perhaps it is being under-reported.”

About 15 minutes later the jogger came back the other way across the bridge. Police said the victim tried to speak to him but he “did not acknowledge her” and carried on running.

People in the area today warned there was a serious problem with “aggressive joggers” on the bridge and called for action to be taken.

Sergeant Knowles praised the “superb quick reactions” of the bus driver.

Meanwhile the hero bus driver whose split-second swerve saved the woman said he was “just doing his job”.

Go Ahead London, which employs the driver, told 5 News: “The driver commented that he is pleased to have been a hero, he was just doing his job.

“He is pleased to have been able to react the way he did and that there was no serious injury to the lady.”

Colleagues of the bus driver, who the Standard understands has worked on buses for a decade, have said he deserves a medal.


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