Gay man ‘knocked out after argument with girl’
The trial of three teenagers accused of the manslaughter of a gay man in Trafalgar Square heard this week that he was punched after hitting one of the girls with her handbag.
Ian Baynham, 62, died 18 days after he was punched, kicked and stamped on while on a night out in central London. A prosecutor compared the assault to violent scenes from the controversial film A Clockwork Orange.
The out gay man, who lived in Beckenham, Kent, was allegedly subjected to homophobic abuse because he was attacked in September last year.
Joel Alexander, 19, of Thornton Heath, south London, Rachel Burke, 18, of Three Oaks, East Sussex, and Ruby Thomas, 18, of Lichfield, Staffs, all deny his manslaughter, while Ms Burke denies a separate charge of committing actual bodily harm.
Yesterday, the Old Bailey heard that Mr Baynham and his friend Phillip Brown had been walking through Trafalgar Square holding hands when an argument began with the group.
A witness said that Ms Thomas struck Mr Baynham twice with her handbag during the row and he then “grabbed the bag and then hit her back with it”.
Witness Robert Fletcher said that Mr Alexander then walked over and punched Mr Baynham, before saying: “You can’t hit girls”.
Mr Fletcher said: “He just gave one big punch to the old man and that was it, one hit and then the man went on the floor.
“He saw the same as what I’d just seen, the confrontation, and went over and punched the guy as he saw him hit the girl and he came back and said ‘you can’t hit girls’ to whoever he was with.”
He added that as Mr Baynham was lying on the ground, Ms Thomas began kicking him “with the total force she could deliver”.
Mr Fletcher said that Ms Burke then joined in the assault.
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Earlier in the week, the court heard that Ms Thomas allegedly started shouting homophobic abuse at Mr Baynham and Mr Brown, calling them “batty men” and “faggots”.
After the alleged attack, the two girls are said to have run off.
Mr Brown told the court he gave chase and pulled Ms Burke to the ground by her hair, the court heard.
But a passerby thought he was attacking her and separated them as she punched Mr Brown in the face.
The three are then said to have fled to the South Bank before returning to their respective homes.
The case was adjourned until next week.