Rita Ora‘s 30th birthday party wasn’t captured on camera, according to a former employee who told police he was asked to turn off the CCTV.
The singer was forced to apologise last November after hosting a group of friends for a meal at Notting Hill’s Casa Cruz restaurant, despite regulations at the time banning indoor meetings of separate households.
Apologising for the event, the singer said it was a “spur of the moment” decision and is believed to have paid the fine as a goodwill gesture.
The new CCTV detail comes ahead of a hearing on Thursday, where the restaurant risks losing its licence.
According to a license review report, police were told that CCTV was turned off at the request of security for the event.
In a statement to police on December 1, restaurant worker Scottie Bhattaraj admitted he gave the go-ahead after Ora’s representatives called him at 5.30pm on the day of the party and explained that they wanted to use the venue for “drinks and nibbles”.
Bhattaraj alleges he was offered £5,000 and went to Casa Cruz to “facilitate the event” himself because most of the restaurant staff were on furlough.
In his witness statement, Bhattarai apologised for being ‘greedy’.
Police eventually broke up the event after receiving a report about a potential breach of Covid-19 rules at the restaurant. Upon arrival shortly after 11.30pm, they could hear music playing and saw that windows of the venue were blacked out.
After peering in through two small gaps, they saw two maskless women sitting at a table, a man by the bar and three women sitting at a separate table.
Apologising in November, Ora said: “Hello all, I attended a small gathering with some friends to celebrate my 30th birthday. It was a spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lockdown and this would be OK.
“I’m deeply sorry for breaking the rules and in turn understand that this puts people at risk. This was a serious and inexcusable error of judgment. Given the restrictions, I realise how irresponsible these actions were and I take full responsibility.”