Challah at a bakery
Challah at a bakeryiStock

A former UK celebrity photographer who snapped portraits of stars such as Rod Stewart, David Bowie and Barry Manilow has been accused of harassing a family of Jewish bakers by sending them abusive letters and emails.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Leon Paul Lecash, 69, of Chelsea, was behind a campaign of letters and emails allegedly containing “abusive language” sent to members of the Rinkoff family.

During police questioning, the photographer turned film producer denied the charges, telling police that the letters and emails were part of a documentary he was doing on the family.

Rinkoff's is a well known family-owned bakery in the East End of London. It was begun in 1911 by Herman Rinkoff, a Jewish immigrant from Ukraine.

Lecash worked on many classic album covers from the ‘80s, including Rod Stewart's Body Wishes, Barry Manilow's Paradise Café, Jermaine Jackson's Dynamite and Pat Benatar’s Crimes of Passion before turning to producing film and TV.

In court, prosecutor Nathan Fuller said that Sara Jane-adler, Esther Rinkoff, Debora Rinkoff, Jennifer Rinkoff, Geoffrey Kluman, Ray Rinkoff and Victoria Hoskyns all received emails and letters from Lecash that “contain abusive language” between December 16, 2020 to March 29, 2021.

“The messages themselves, the defendant does not deny sending. The defendant maintained it was sent to get interest for the documentary he is making on the family. They contain defamatory language and allegations against the individual members of the family. He claims they were not harassing, they were part of his freedom of the press, and they were a technique for a documentary he was making.”

Lecash denied the charges of harassment without violence. A two-day trial will take place in London on January 30, 2022.