CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Teenagers admit threatening same sex couple on bus in Camden

Teens appear in court over bus incident in May

28 November, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

A photo shared of the couple after the incident

THREE teenagers have pleaded guilty to public order offences in which a same sex couple on a bus in Camden were threatened and pelted with coins.

Melania Ramirez, 28, and Christine Hannigan boarded the N31 bus before being approached by teenage boys on May 30.

The teenagers – who cannot be named due to their ages – were due to stand trial today at Highbury Youth Court but admitted public order offences.

The CCTV from the bus, which has no audio, was played to the court and showed the boys approach the couple at the front of the bus and sit around them. One of the boys is seen throwing coins and there is an exchange.

Ms Hannigan moves towards the back of the bus and the incident ends in a scuffle and the boys leave the vehicle. One the youngsters took her hangbag.

Ms Ramirez shared a photo of the couple covered in blood after the nine-minute incident, which happened in Camden Road. The case had previously been wrongly located in West Hampstead in presss reports.

CCTV of the incident released by the Met Police

District Judge Susan Williams told the court: “This is two young women together behaving in an overtly affectionate fashion towards each other and the group of young boys at the back of the bus thought this was all an enormous joke.

“They are clustering around like some sort of side show. They seemed to think it a huge joke and behaved inappropriately.”

She added she did not “know if I would describe it as a hate crime” but said the fact they were a same sex couple provoked the boys’ interest.

Defence lawyer David Wood, representing the 17-year-old, said: “What it is not is an offence which has demonstrates either before or during any hostility based on sexual orientation.”

A fact-finding hearing is taking place tomorrow (Friday) to decide on whether a 17-year-old’s actions were fuelled by hostility to the women based on their sexual orientation.

Charges were dismissed against another 17-year-old who also faced public order act offences.

A 16-year-old from Wandsworth pleaded guilty to the theft of Ms Hannigan’s handbag and handling stolen goods in relation to her mobile phone. He also admitted two charges of public order offences of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

He will be sentenced on December 19 at Wimbledon Youth Court.

The 15-year-old from Kensington and Chelsea admitted two charges of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress and handling Ms Ramirez’s stolen bank card. He will be sentenced on December 23 at the same court.

The 17-year-old, from Kensington and Chelsea admitted one charge of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress to Ms Hannigan.

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