Melania Geymonat and her girlfriend Chris were left beaten and bloodied on a London night bus. (Facebook)
The four teenagers accused of a ‘homophobically aggravated’ attack on a same-sex couple on a London bus have pleaded not guilty in court.
The group of males – two aged 17, one 16 and one 15 – appeared in Youth Court on Wednesday (August 21).
They are accused of harassing Melania Geymonat, 28, and Christine Hannigan, 29, on a Camden night bus on May 30.
The teens allegedly approached the couple, started making offensive comments and asked them to kiss. When the women refused, they were beaten.
Prosecutor Arlene De Silva told Highbury Corner Youth Court: “This is a case where the Crown says that it is homophobically aggravated.”
The accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were accompanied to court by their parents and solicitors. All four pleaded not guilty to the charge of using threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour.
The 15-year-old denied the further charge of handling Geymonat’s stolen bank card.
The 16-year-old was also charged with handling the stolen phone and stealing a handbag. He pleaded not guilty to handling the phone, but pleaded guilty to stealing the handbag.
The four boys have been released on police bail and ordered not to contact each other or any witnesses.
“I do not think that Boris Johnson is fit to lead anything, much less the United Kingdom.”
The lesbian couple who were recently subjected to suspected homophobic attack on a bus in London have criticised Boris Johnson for his previous homophobic remarks. pic.twitter.com/eS1nRrlest
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) June 14, 2019
The image that shocked the nation
After the attack, Geymonat shared a photograph on Facebook of herself and Hannigan covered in blood.
The image shocked the nation and sparked a conversation about how LGBT+ people often feel unsafe in public.
“For straight men, it was the most significant bit of misogyny they’d ever seen. For queer women it was Tuesday,” said one Twitter user.
“How could this horrific homophobic attack happen in Britain in 2019?!” shriek people who also insist it’s “dangerous” to teach children about gays
— Richard Butler (@rmdbutler) June 7, 2019
Not a new problem. Have been cheered for kissing a woman in public and it is a hop and skip from that to this. I feel less safe being affectionate in public with women than with men. As I am bi I can palpably tell the difference.
— SJ (@siobhanclaude_) June 7, 2019
Hannigan later wrote that the significant media coverage of the attack was likely due to the fact that she and Geymonat are “white” and “feminine,” while similar crimes against other LGBT+ people often go unreported.
“The commodification and exploitation of my face came at the expense of other victims whose constant persecution apparently does not warrant similar moral outrage,” she said.
“Make the extraordinary reaction to our attack the norm.”