A 15-year-old who abused a same-sex couple on a London bus has been ordered to attend diversity sessions as a judge branded his behaviour “disgusting and degrading”.
The youth was part of a gang of teenagers who abused Melania Geymonat and Christine Hannigan while they were on their way back from a date in the early hours of May 30.
A trial at Highbury Corner Youth Court heard that three teens aged 15, 16 and 17 surrounded the two women on the top deck of the N31 bus in north London, asking questions like: “How do you have sex?” and making degrading gestures, referencing the sex act of scissoring.
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 youths admitted using threatening or abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress against the two women shortly before trial.
The 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was handed a youth referral order of eight months at Highbury Corner Youth Court on Monday.
The sentence was increased from six months due to the homophobic nature of the incident, while a second charge of handling stolen goods, related to Ms Geymonat’s bank card, was included in the sentence.
Josef Rybacki, mitigating, said it was a case of “immaturity and stupidity rather than hostility”.
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 told the youth: “The court very strongly disapproves of the sort of behaviour you exhibited in May 30. 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.”
He said the two women were “intimidated and degraded” by the 15-year-old and said his eight-month referral order would include work on hate crime and relationships with peers, including diversity sessions.
The teenager was also sentenced to a 10-day activity requirement which includes 20 hours of community reparation and will also be banned from having any contact with the two other teenagers for four months.
The youth wasn’t ordered to pay any compensation.