Former celebrity photographer avoids jail after harassing Jewish baking family

Leon Paul Lecash was responsible for several iconic album covers in the 1980s


A photographer to the stars has avoided jail after being convicted of harassing the Rinkoff baking family.

Leon Paul Lecash, who worked with David Bowie, Barry Manilow and Rod Stewart among others, sent a series of harassing and 'vicious' emails to members of the Rinkoff family, including 64-year-old Esther, Debora, Jennifer and Ray Rinkoff.

He was handed a 14 week prison sentence suspended for 12 months, and a restraining order for three years at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

During his trial Lecash argued he was trying to obtain information for two documentaries and an autobiography he was working on and that the persistent emailing was part of his research style.

 He claimed he was entitled to exercise his rights to “Freedom of Expression”, under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act but he was convicted by a judge of six counts of harassment.

Lecash had replied to a police email on 24 January 2021 saying he would not send any more emails, but continued to do so, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard.

He was finally charged with harrasment on 23 July 2021.

During his trial earlier this year, prosecuting lawyer Jonathan Bryan said: “Even if you come to the conclusion that Mr Lecash himself did not know what he did amounted to harassment.

 “Given the emails you’ve seen, any reasonable person would realise the number of emails and their content would amount to harassment.”

 Mr Sundeep Pankhania, defending, argued that none of the complainants, including members of his family, asked LeCash to stop sending emails.

 Mr Pankhania explained that LeCash was involved in a number of documentaries and writing a book called “John Lennon Made Me toast”.

 LeCash said: “This book is about my life and a very important literary agent wants me to write it in London.”

He explained that the book would involve some Rinkoff family members and some or all of the allegations that have been put to them in the emails.

In sentencing Mr Lecash, the judge said the offences ‘passed the custody threshold’ but she was prepared to suspend his 14-week prison sentence for 12 months.

The judge also gave the photographer a restraining order for three years and told Lecash: "Any form of contact which is considered direct or indirect and you would probably go to prison for that."

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