Every now and again a case comes to court which captures the imagination of this city, perhaps the country...and maybe even the world. The case of Benn Bouchtat versus the Savoy hotel may just be one of those stories.
After all, this tawdry and sensational case has everything: grand theft (Bouchtat is accused of stealing £4,000's worth of crockery from the Savoy while working there as head waiter), a spirited defence ("I didn’t steal anything from the Savoy," Bouchtat told Southwark Crown Court yesterday), and even a celebrity judge (Cherie Booth, QC is at the bench).
Bouchtat's 'stash' of looted items is said to include "silverware, cutlery, crockery, glasses, vases, coffee pots, chocolate, jam and even..." you may want to sit down before you read this next bit... "a vacuum cleaner".
Dear God, not the vacuum cleaner.
When police vistied his house these items were found, "under the bed in the master bedroom, while others were in the kitchen, lounge, sitting room and garage with a number even in the garden."
A vacuum cleaner in the garden? Oh, the humanity.
In his defence Bouchtat has claimed that he found these items, "in second-hand shops, charity stores, car boot sales." And that he collects them, "simply because I like them."
Quote of the decade we think you'll agree, but it doesn't stop there: moving on to a set of kitchen knives Bachtat is quoted as saying "I remember these very well. I bought them last time I visited Morocco. They cost me 25 pence each."
Why this story isn't on the front page of every national newspaper today we just don't know. But rest assured that Londonist will bring you every development in this fascinating case as it happens.