Ian Baynham was kicked to death in Trafalgar Square two years ago for the terrible crime of being gay. It was a horrible reminder that although we now consider areas like the centre of London to be bastions of acceptance, hatred is still lurking everywhere for people who are different. What horribly also still true is that homophobic killing is still treated with leniency by the courts:
Ruby Thomas, 19, was one of three teenagers who attacked 62-year-old Ian Baynham in an incident likened by one witness at the Old Bailey last month to something out of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.
Jurors then convicted Thomas, of Anerley, south London, and her ex-boyfriend Joel Alexander, now 20, of nearby Thornton Heath – who was today sentenced to six years – after hearing details of the assault in September 2009.
Thomas had been acting in a “lairy, mouthy way” and flirting with passersby before she turned on Baynham and his friend Philip Brown and screamed “fucking faggots” at them as they crossed the square.
She also smiled as she “put the boot into” an unconscious Baynham after Alexander had knocked him to the ground and caused a severe brain injury.
Baynham died 18 days later at the Royal London hospital without recovering consciousness. Police found his blood on Thomas’s handbag and the ballet pumps she had been wearing.
Judge Richard Hawkins increased Thomas’s sentence from six years to seven because of the homophobic nature of her actions. He said: “This was a case of mindless, drink-fuelled violence committed in public.”
A third defendant, Rachael Burke, 18, of Upper Norwood, south London, will serve a two-year sentence in a young offenders’ institution after being convicted of affray at a separate trial.
Surely a real example of ‘broken Britain’ is when a judge increases a tariff for killing someone for being gay by a year rather than twenty. These are two, six and seven year sentences for murder -yet again homophobic scum get away with it by being ‘public schoolgirls’, ‘usually responsible’ or the jury believing the most preposterous justifications for Thomas’ behaviour from her barrister, reducing the charge to manslaughter . This is what happened:
The court was told that Thomas, of Anerley, south-east London, had been acting in a “lairy, mouthy way” and flirting with random passersby before turning on Baynham and his friend Philip Brown and screaming “fucking faggots” at them as they crossed the square.
When Baynham confronted her, there was a scuffle during which she hit him with her handbag. Alexander knocked him to the ground, causing a severe brain injury as his head hit the pavement.
Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, told the court: “That did not suffice. There is evidence that the female defendants then began putting the boot into Mr Baynham, who was still prone on his back, clearly unconscious and in distress … shocked onlookers saw repeated stamping to his chest and forceful kicks to his head.” He said the girls had been fuelled by copious amounts of alcohol.
How on earth was this manslaughter? How on earth could the sentences be this puny? How on earth could Ben Summerskill of Stonewall not condemn their leniency?