Teen who targeted same-sex couple in brutal London bus attack avoids prison sentence
A 16-year-old boy who admitted to targeting a same-sex couple in the homophobic London bus attack earlier this year has walked away from court with a referral order.
In May this year, Melania Geymonat and Christine Hannigan were victims of a brutal homophobic and misogynistic attack by a group of teenagers on a bus after they refused to perform a sex act.
The teens surrounded the couple, threw coins at them and asked them to kiss and perform a sex act. When they refused, the boys attacked them. Pictures of the two women covered in blood made front pages worldwide, and four boys were arrested shortly after.
Three of the teenagers, aged 15, 16 and 17, pleaded guilty last month to harassment under the Public Order Act. The fourth boy, aged 17, had charges against him dropped. The teens cannot be named for legal reasons.
According to the Evening Standard, as well as admitting to harassment, the 16-year-old sentenced today pleaded guilty to a second charge of harassment, theft and handling stolen goods.
He admitted that he had stolen Geymonat’s handbag and handled Hannigan’s stolen phone, although both were later recovered.
Andrew Mooney, mitigating, said that the boy had not thrown coins at the couple or made homophobic gestures like the other teenagers.
He was sentenced on Thursday December 19 at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court, and the referral order means he walked free from court and will have to serve an eight-month community sentence.
The referral order was increased from six months because of the homophobic nature of the attack. He will also have to pay a £100 fine with a £20 surcharge.
Chair 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.”