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HATE ATTACK

Boy, 15, who abused lesbian couple on night bus with 'scissoring' gesture walks free from court

A 15-YEAR-OLD boy who abused a lesbian couple on a night bus with a "scissoring" gesture has walked free from court.

Melania Geymonat and Christine Hannigan were subjected to homophobic slurs by a group of teenagers while on a date shortly after 2.15am on May 30.

Melania and Christine sit bloodied on the night bus after they were confronted by youths
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Melania and Christine sit bloodied on the night bus after they were confronted by youths
Footage released by the Metropolitan Police shows the sickening attack unfold
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Credit: Metropolitan Police Footage released by the Metropolitan Police shows the sickening attack unfold Credit: Metropolitan Police

While on the top deck of the N31 bus in north London, three teenagers aged 15, 16 and 17 surrounded the two women and began asking them intrusive questions such as: "How do you have sex?"

'DEGRADING'

Highbury Corner Youth Court heard the 15-year-old made "degrading gestures", referencing the sex act of scissoring, towards the pair.

Ms Hannigan, who is bisexual, previously explained in court that references to the sex act of scissoring are often used to taunt women in same-sex relationships or is seen as a "fetish".

The court also heard the 15-year-old handed the eldest teenager coins which he then pelted at the couple, prompting a scuffle between Ms Hannigan and one of the teenagers.

All three admitted using threatening or abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress against the two women shortly before trial.

Appearing at Highbury Corner Youth Court on Monday, the 15-year-old was given a youth referral order of eight months, increased from six due to the homophobic nature of the incident.

He was also ordered to attend diversity sessions.

A second charge of handling stolen goods, related to Ms Geymonat's bank card, was included in the sentence.

Melania was left bruised after being targeted on the night bus on May 30
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Melania was left bruised after being targeted on the night bus on May 30

'IMMATURITY'

Josef Rybacki, mitigating, said: "We have heard a description of the offences, it is clearly a case of immaturity and stupidity rather than hostility.

"He has accepted the events in full without a basis of plea."

When asked how his actions may have hurt the two women, the 15-year-old replied: "I feel sorry for the victims, it didn't have to escalate like that."

District Judge Nicholas Rimmer handed down the eight month order for the teenager's "disgusting acts".

He said: "The court very strongly disapproves of the sort of behaviour you exhibited.

"They were in a relationship, they were happy, they were simply enjoying the pleasures of life and being in love.

They were met with disgusting and degrading behaviour and you should feel thoroughly ashamed of your conduct.

Judge Nicholas Rimmer

"They were met with disgusting and degrading behaviour and you should feel thoroughly ashamed of your conduct."

He added the two women were "intimidated and degraded" by the 15-year-old.

He added: "You need the close supervision of the youth offending service to think carefully about your behaviour."

The referral order will feature work on hate crime and relationships with peers, the judge added.

"This will include diversity sessions which will make you think about hate crime, the protected characteristics and minority groups," District Judge Rimmer added.

The teenager was also sentenced to a 10-day activity requirement which includes 20 hours of community reparation.

He will also be banned from having any contact with the two other teenagers for four months.

No compensation was ordered.

District Judge Rimmer said: "It's very unlikely that the victims want money.

"They likely want to put this whole unpleasant incident behind them."

The teenager will have to pay a surcharge of £ 20.

The women can be seen defending themselves against the yobs during the nine-minute attack
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Credit: Metropolitan Police The women can be seen defending themselves against the yobs during the nine-minute attack Credit: Metropolitan Police
One of the teenagers is seen attacking one of the women
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Credit: Metropolitan Police One of the teenagers is seen attacking one of the women Credit: Metropolitan Police
Melania and Christine have spoken out about the homophobic attack on the bus
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Credit: Channel Four Melania and Christine have spoken out about the homophobic attack on the bus Credit: Channel Four