|EX-BOXER IN LEGAL
FIGHT WITH TESCO |
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10:30 - 18
|A Former sparring partner of heavyweight
boxing star Lennox Lewis, has vowed to sue Tesco for alleged
racism and unfair dismissal after being cleared in court of
attacking a customer.|
Duffus, 43, a former professional boxer, was sacked by the
supermarket giant, where he worked as a security guard, after
he hit abusive customer Daniel Hodges on October 10 last year.
Mr Duffus told Gloucester Crown Court that he had been acting
in self defence - and after just four minutes of
deliberations, the jury agreed with him, clearing him of the
charge of grievous bodily harm.
He had explained to the
court how he had hit back in self defence during the latest in
a series of 'Friday night ritual' incidents, when Mr Hodges
and his friends visited the store in Collett's Drive,
Cheltenham, to racially abuse him.
The former boxer,
who sparred with former world heavyweight champion Lennox
Lewis at the start of his career, was dismissed by Tesco on
November 15 last year, nine months before he proved his
innocence in court.
Mr Duffus, of Druids Lane,
Gloucester, who has consulted a solicitor and plans to start
unfair dismissal proceedings next week, claimed: "I believe
Tesco are institutionally racist, and that there was a
collective failure of responsibility.
dismissing me said 'We are a retail store, not a nightclub.' I
was just doing my job to the best of my ability."
Duffus, who told the court he was the only black guard working
at the store at the time, told the jury in the trial that Mr
Hodges had made to hit him before he was forced to take action
and punched him, shattering his jaw.
He also claimed he
had received little support in his duties in the weeks leading
up to the incident, despite having to wage a full-time war on
crime in the store.
After the hearing, he said: "On my
very first night I was attacked with a bottle.
were stealing to order. One Monday a junkie came in and nicked
£200 worth of DVDs and another time I had a knife pulled on
"Night guard is the most hostile job going, these
guys were piling up Southern Comfort in the dog food aisle and
they had a man inside telling where I was so they could grab
it and run when I was farthest away."
A spokesman for
Tesco said: "Terry Duffus was a good security guard and an
asset to the store, but was dismissed after attacking a
customer and breaking his jaw.
"After a full
investigation into the incident his dismissal was
"Tesco cannot condone violence against our
"Tesco is a diverse and inclusive company
and does not tolerate racism. We have a very diverse workforce
with tens of thousands of workers from ethnic minority
backgrounds, a number of whom work at the store in
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