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Rehabilitation order for 17-year-old after homophobic attack on former Bishop's Stortford woman

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A judge has ruled homophobia was behind a 17-year-old's involvement in an attack on a former Bishop's Stortford woman and her girlfriend.

Melania Geymonat, 28, who was working as a Ryanair flight attendant based at Stansted Airport at the time, and American Christine Hannigan were harassed and pelted with coins in the incident on a London night bus before punches were thrown.

It was alleged three teenage boys taunted the women about lesbian sex during the confrontation, which left both victims bloodied and requiring hospital treatment for facial injuries.

Melanai Geymonat, right, and her girlfriend Chris (23158574)
Melanai Geymonat, right, and her girlfriend Chris (23158574)

Three boys, aged 15, 16 and 17, admitted public order offences arising from the attack in Camden, north London on May 30. But the eldest contested the suggestion that the women's sexuality played a part.

On Friday (November 29), District Judge Susan Williams said: "I am quite sure this was a hostile act. However, I also have to be sure that you were hostile because Ms Hannigan was a lesbian.

"In other words, that you were picking on her because of who she was and not just fooling around. I have come to the short conclusion that is exactly what you were doing."

Indie Office, Bishops Stortford. Melania Geymonat. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (23158549)
Indie Office, Bishops Stortford. Melania Geymonat. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (23158549)

She imposed a four-month youth rehabilitation order, a 20-hour reparation requirement, similar to community service, and a two-week curfew.

The two other boys, who did not contest the prosecution's case, will be sentenced next month. The 16-year-old has also pleaded guilty to handling a stolen mobile phone and the 15-year-old admits handling a stolen bank card. Charges against another 17-year-old boy were dropped.

Since the attack, Ms Geymonat, a qualified doctor from Uruguay, has resumed her medical studies in Barcelona with hopes of becoming a surgeon.

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