Teenager who harassed and threw coins at lesbian couple on London bus escapes custodial sentence

Teenager who harassed and threw coins at lesbian couple on London bus escapes custodial sentence

A SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD who admitted targeting a lesbian couple on a London bus has walked free from court with a referral.

The boy admitted pelting the couple with coins after they refused to perform sex acts back in May on a night bus in Camden.

Christine Hannigan and Melania Ramirez were surrounded by a trio of boys who began harassing the couple and verbally abusing them before an altercation broke out which left the two young women bruised and bloodied.

The three teenagers appeared before a youth court in north London last month, where CCTV footage of the terrifying incident was played.

They had previously denied charges of harassment by using threatening or abusive words or behaviour, but today, before the trial began, the teenagers - who cannot be named for legal reasons - officially admitted to the charges.

Despite this, the 16-year-old from Wandsworth was sentenced to an eight-month youth referral order and 12 hours' reparation at Wimbledon Magistrates Court, rather than being issued with an expected custodial sentence.

The two woman, who worked for Ryanair at the time of the incident, described how the boys made crude 'scissoring' gestures towards them before eventually surrounding the couple by sitting beside and behind them.

Ms Hannigan even pretended to be sick in a bid to try and dissuade the teens, but they refused to relent.

During the fracas which saw the girl physically assaulted, the 16-year-old in question made off with Ms Ramirez' handbag.

Bench chairman Peter Bullets told the 16-year-old: "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 and it would seem it was a homophobic trigger that was the context of this behaviour.

"We are persuaded that a referral order is the appropriate way to deal with these matters.

"We feel an eight-month referral order is appropriate."