Great Britain

Teenager sentenced for attack on gay couple 'who refused to kiss' on bus

A 16-year-old boy has been sentenced for an attack on a female couple on a London bus.

The teenager, who cannot be named because of his age, was one of three boys who threatened the women after they refused to kiss.

The boy, who also stole one of their handbags, has been handed a youth referral order, a type of community sentence.

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It was extended from six months to eight months by Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court due to the homophobic nature of the attack.

Melania Geymonat and Christine Hannigan were surrounded and hit with coins before a fight broke out on a night bus in north London, CCTV footage shows. 

Both victims were left covered in blood and were taken to hospital for facial injuries afterwards.

Maria Slater, the prosecuting lawyer, said the women claimed the group had tried to make them kiss and made references to their sexual orientation. 

Andrew Mooney, mitigating, said the 16-year-old had not thrown coins or made homophobic gestures like his co-defendants. However, the sentence was increased because of the attack’s homophobic nature in general. 

The youth admitted using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress against the two women. He also admitted stealing Ms Geymonat’s handbag and handling Ms Hannigan’s stolen phone.

As well as a referral order, the 16-year-old was fined £100 and ordered to pay a £20 surcharge.

A 17-year-old boy has already been given a youth rehabilitation order and supervision and a 15-year-old will be sentenced later in December.​ All three have admitted targeting the women. 

The 16-year-old accepted he had hurt the two victims as well as his own family and friends.

When asked to explain how he could make it up to the people he had hurt, he replied: “Show them that’s not the person I am.”

Magistrate Peter Bullet said: “By all accounts this was an unpleasant situation with offences committed by a large group in the early hours in a public space against two women on their own.

“It would seem it was both a homophobic trigger and the context for this offending behaviour.”

Ms Geymonat posted an image on Facebook of her and Ms Hannigan with blood on their faces on clothes after May’s assault, writing underneath: “I’m tired of being taken as a sexual object.”

“We have to endure verbal harassment and chauvinist, misogynistic and homophobic violence,” she said, “because when you stand up for yourself s**t like this happens.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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