Saturday 20 January 2018

Support from Irish wife got chef through ordeal

Now Antony Worrall Thompson wants to make amends following his arrest for stealing, writes Niamh Horan

Antony Worrall Thompson with Irish Olympians
Ger Owens and Scott Flanigan last night. Photo: Tony Gavin
Antony Worrall Thompson with Irish Olympians Ger Owens and Scott Flanigan last night. Photo: Tony Gavin

Celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson, who faced a storm of controversy after being caught stealing from his local Tesco, has credited his Irish wife with getting him through the fallout.

The high-profile chef described Dublin-born Jacinta Shiel as his "rock", saying she was the one who kept him going.

On Monday, the TV star apologised for his "stupid and irresponsible actions" after he was caught taking cheese and wine from a Tesco store. Last night he kept his promise to appear at Malahide Rugby Club for a fundraiser for Irish Olympic sailing duo Scott Flanigan and Ger Owens.

The Ready Steady Cook star was in town to judge a celebrity chef night in aid of the Olympic 470 trialists at the North Dublin venue.

Commenting on the controversy, he said: "It's shameful to me and I've let a lot of people down. But you've got to keep going and not wallow in your own tears. I won't forget this for a long time to come."

Praising his wife he said: "She is absolutely amazing. We met nearly 20 years ago. She's gorgeous, she's got a great heart and she's my rock.

"I expected her to blow her top but she didn't, she just told me it was going to be okay. She knows there is a problem and I am seeking some help. I mean I have had a pretty horrid childhood, who knows whether it's coming out now? I just don't know."

The kind-hearted chef has donated his appearance money from Brendan O'Connor's Saturday Night Show to the Irish Olympic duo and pledged to come to Ireland with his wife to cook for eight people as part of a charity auction.

Mr Worrall Thompson was arrested at a Tesco supermarket in Henley-on-Thames, near London, after failing to pay for items at the self-service checkouts five times in 16 days. Following his arrest, the 60-year-old released a statement saying he intends to "seek the treatment that is clearly needed".

He added: "I am not the first, and I certainly won't be the last person to do something without rhyme or reason -- what went through my head, only time will tell."

Ger is a double Olympian who won two races at the Beijing games, while Scott will be the youngest sailor ever to compete in the Olympics for Ireland, should they qualify. They receive minimal support from the Irish Sailing Association, therefore sponsorship is essential.

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