17-year-old ‘ringleader’ of brutal trans hate attack gets six years in prison
A 17-year-old boy has been sentenced to six years in prison after attacking a trans man, leaving his victim with a brain bleed and broken nose.
The 40-year-old trans man was walking down a road in the town of Aylesbury – to the north-west of London – at 10:50pm on a Monday last July when he was accosted by a group of men.
Owen Wise, 17, of Kingham Court, New Street, Aylesbury, verbally abused his victim, making references to him being trans, before stealing his phone and wallet.
After taking the items, Wise punched him in the face, knocking his victim to the ground and causing a bleed to the brain, a broken nose and a cheek wound.
Wise, who was 16 at the time, pleaded guilty to one count of robbery in December and was sentenced to six years today, on the basis that the attack was a hate crime.
Michael Thorpe, aged 21, of Beech Green, Aylesbury, was also arrested on 28 July 2016, and sentenced today to two years and three months after pleading guilty to one count of theft.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Bruce Wilson, of Aylesbury Local CID, said: “This was an appalling unprovoked attack against a man due to his transgender status and was motivated by hate.
“This incident had a significant and long lasting impact upon the victim – not just physically but emotionally.”
Kaviraj Choolun, Senior Crown Prosecutor from Thames and Chiltern CPS, said: “This case involved the robbery of a 40-year-old transgender man, motivated by hate, which resulted in horrendous long-lasting injuries.”
Choolun said even though Owen Wise was just 16 at the time of the robbery, he was “the ringleader of those involved.
“He pleaded guilty to robbery, but denied targeting the victim due to vulnerability and claimed to have only hit him once. He is clearly an extremely violent and dangerous individual.
“Michael Thorpe did not use any violence during the incident, but was part of the group when the robbery took place and the group used hate as a motive.
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“He admitted to stealing the victim’s mobile phone during the robbery and pleaded guilty to theft.”
Choolun emphasised that “from the outset, the CPS said this offence was a hate crime aggravated by transphobic hostility and persisted in prosecuting it as a hate crime”.
The CPS continued doing so, he added, “despite the victim being unable to give evidence, even via video link, due to the dreadful physical and psychological effects resulting from his head injury.
“We know that nothing can undo what happened to the victim, but we hope that the convictions and today’s sentences bring him at least a small sense that justice has been done.
“We also hope that the victim, who has shown great courage throughout this process, continues with his recovery. Our thoughts are very much with him at this time.”