The killing of out gay man Ian Baynham shows that work to tackle anti-gay bullying in schools must continue, campaigners have said.
Mr Baynham’s killers, Ruby Thomas and Joel Alexander, were teenagers at the time of the homophobic attack last year.
Today, they were found guilty of his manslaughter. Rachel Burke was found guilty of affray at an earlier hearing.
The Old Bailey heard that Thomas had shouted homophobic abuse at Mr Baynham and “put the boot” into him as he lay dying on the floor.
Gay rights groups said that his killers’ ages proved that plenty of work still needs to be done in schools.
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall chief executive, said: “We welcome this verdict and urge the judge to take into consideration the homophobic element of this crime when sentencing.
“The perpetrators of this homophobic crime were educated in Britain’s education system within the last five years – demonstrating how much more needs to be done to tackle homophobia in our schools before it festers into violence on the streets.”
Paul Martin, of the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, added: “This is a hugely important result, but it is still greatly upsetting that we live in a society where these crimes are still happening and that Ian Baynham is no longer with us.
“The three accused of attacking Mr Baynham were still teenagers at the time of the attack, not long out of the UK education system, highlighting the work that needs to be done in all schools, other young peoples’ settings and throughout society to change attitudes, promote understanding and challenge homophobia.”
He added: “But today’s ruling sends out an important message, that prejudice won’t be tolerated, that homophobic hate crimes are treated seriously and that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people should have the confidence to report hate crimes.
“Our thoughts are with Ian’s family and friends.”