Knife-wielding chef who allegedly attacked Benedict Cumberbatch’s home pleads guilty

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch in a tuxedo looks toward his wife Sophie at a red-carpet event
Benedict Cumberbatch and wife Sophie Hunter were home when former chef Jack Bissell attempted to break in and dislodge their intercom with a fish knife.
(Jae C. Hong / Invision / Associated Press)

The knife-wielding man accused of attacking Benedict Cumberbatch’s north London home and threatening the “Doctor Strange” actor and his family has pleaded guilty to a criminal damage charge.

Jack Bissell, a former chef at the five-star Beaumont Hotel in west London, forcibly entered Cumberbatch’s property. Bissell threatened him and his family while the Oscar nominee, his wife Sophie Hunter and their three young children were home, the Times of London and Daily Mail reported Monday.

Bissell appeared in Wood Green Crown Court on May 10 and pleaded guilty to criminal damage. He also received a $310 fine and was ordered to stay away from the family and where they live for three years.


Representatives for Cumberbatch did not immediately respond Tuesday to The Times’ request for comment.

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It is unclear when the attack took place but outlets reported that Bissell allegedly forcibly entered the “Sherlock” star’s property and kicked his way in through the garden gate, yelling that he knew that the actor had moved to the home and hoped that “it burns down.” The former chef allegedly uprooted a plant, tossed it at a garden wall and spit into Cumberbatch’s intercom device, which he also attempted to dislodge with a fish knife. He then fled the scene.

Police were able to retrieve Bissell’s DNA from the intercom and arrested him, the Times reported.

Prosecutors told the court that Bissell bought two packages of pita bread from a nearby shop before the incident and told the shopkeeper that he was going to break in and burn down the actor’s house, the Daily Mail said. He did not offer a defense for his alleged actions during his court appearance.

The Guardian said that details about the case were withheld until reporting restrictions — often meant to protect the rights of children or the identities of some adult complainants — were successfully challenged. The Daily Mail said that it challenged the restrictions this week.

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A source told the tabloid that the Cumberbatch family, who moved into the $4.3-million property in 2015, were “absolutely terrified.”


“Benedict and Sophie have had many sleepless nights since worrying that they may be targeted again,” the source said. “The fact that it was a targeted intrusion makes it a lot more scary.”

Bissell was previously convicted of theft and was given warnings for offenses against property, a public order offense and a drug offense, the Times of London said.