A man in London has pleaded guilty to harassment after a barrage of homophobic abuse left his neighbour wanting to take their own life.
Justin Louis, 38, appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on Tuesday (1 June) after he pled guilty to a single count of harassment without violence in May, according to MyLondon. The court heard Louis subjected his neighbour, an unnamed university student, to a constant stream of homophobic abuse between August 2020 and January 2021.
The student moved into a ground floor property in a block of flats in Clerkenwell, north London – adjacent to Louis. Shortly after moving in, Louis began his abusive behaviour towards his neighbour. MyLondon reported that Louis repeatedly banged on the wall of the victim’s home, sent him handwritten notes with homophobic slurs and threatening the university student.
The victim said he was standing at his front door when Louis first confronted him. Louis told the victim that he needed to “stop watching man stuff” – referring to gay pornography – before he said he would “hurt” the victim if he saw him again. He also told the university student that he was “disgusting” and that he “doesn’t want to live with people like you”.
A few days after the confrontation, the victim received a handwritten note from Louis containing homophobic slurs. The note also described the university student as “dirty” and a “paedophile”.
The victim said on 11 September he heard loud banging on his walls “as if someone was trying to break in” because of the noise his coffee machine made. He also said Louis would continuously bang on the walls if the victim had any partners over.
In his victim impact statement before the court, the university student said he “attempted to take my own life” because of the abuse he suffered from Louis. He said he felt “very stressed” on top of the “mental health problems” he already had.
“I have a fear of knife crime in general, and I feel he could do something to me,” the victim said. “I cannot have partners and friends round my house anymore because of him.”
He said he constantly had to think about things he couldn’t do because he didn’t want to “aggravate” Louis. But because of COVID-19, he said he hasn’t “been able to leave to remove” himself “from the situation”.
“I cannot reach out to anyone at this time,” he said. “I feel lonely, and he continues to attack my sexual orientation. I just want to live my life as a student.”
The court heard that Louis claimed he was “apologetic and showed remorse” for his homophobic behaviour.
According to MyLondon, the court sentenced Louis to an 18-month community order. He must complete 20 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days – including five days of a diversity programme – and must undertake 200 hours of unpaid work.
Louis also must pay £180 in costs.
MyLondon reported that there is also a two-year-long restraining order imposed on Louis. Under the terms of the restraining order, Louis must not contact the victim.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.