In June, the story of a violent bus attack against a lesbian couple in London went viral. In the midst of Pride Month, it was a sobering reminder of the homophobia that LGBTQ people continue to face, even in “progressive” countries.
BBC reports that three teenagers have now confessed to the crime.
The couple, Melanie Geymonat and Christine Hannigan, told the court that they were riding the night bus when a group of boys began harassing them, trying to force them to kiss.
“We were clearly together in a romantic sense, we were being affectionate,” Hannigan said. “It is pretty intimidating being cornered and making homophobic comments. They wanted us to show them how lesbians have sex.”
The encounter escalated when the boys began throwing coins at the couple, which caused facial injuries. They also punched both women several times and stole a phone and bag.
Judge Susan Williams ruled that the attack “was quite clearly directed towards this couple because of who they are.”
The teenagers, ages 15, 16, and 17, had previously denied charges of harassment. But before trial, they admitted to the offenses. The 17-year-old has been sentenced to a four-month youth rehabilitation order and a two-week curfew. The other two boys will be sentenced on December 23.