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Fight at the opera costs lawyer £2,000

Seat hits the fan: Matthew Feargrieve lashed out after Wagner enthusiast Ulrich Engler moved into front row PICTURE: PA

A LAWYER has been ordered to hand over more than £2,000 for punching a fashion designer during an argument over a seat at the opera.

Matthew Feargrieve, 43, assaulted Ulrich Engler when the top lingerie designer moved from his seat in Row B to an empty one in Row A, just as the music began to play.

The hedge fund lawyer lashed out after his partner Catherine Chandler’s coat was moved by the victim and she ‘tussled’ with him at the Royal Opera House in London, a court heard.

Victim: Mr Engler is a top lingerie designer PICTURE: CENTRAL NEWS

Mr Feargrieve’s assault ‘may have been as little as one blow’, said Lisa Wilding QC, representing him at Westminster magistrates’ court.

She added that, since the incident last March, he had found only ‘sporadic’ work.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Engler said he suffered ‘numerous blows to my upper body which caused bruising and sustained pain’. The attack had a ‘major impact’ on his ‘creative attitude’ and he ended up missing a fashion season.

The Wagner enthusiast had paid £2,000 to see a performance of the German composer’s epic Ring Cycle in Covent Garden.

Feargrieve, who was found guilty of common assault at an earlier hearing, was fined £900 and ordered to pay £775 costs, £500 compensation to Mr Engler and a £90 victim surcharge.