Youths admit threatening former Bishop's Stortford woman and her girlfriend in London bus incident
Three teenage boys have admitted threatening a former Bishop's Stortford woman and her girlfriend on a night bus in London.
The youths, aged 15, 16 and 17, admitted the public order offences on Thursday (November 28) ahead of a scheduled trial at Highbury Corner Youth Court.
They had previously denied charges of harassment by using threatening or abusive words or behaviour against Melania Geymonat, 28, a former Ryanair flight attendant at Stansted Airport, and her date Christine Hannigan. Melania, a qualified doctor from Uruguay, has now left the airline and the UK to resume her medical career, training as a surgeon in Spain.
The 17-year-old will appear in court on Friday (Nov 29) for a hearing to decide whether an aggravating factor of homophobia should be considered in sentencing. It is alleged that the two women, both openly lesbian, were attacked after refusing to kiss for the gang's entertainment.
All three boys will be sentenced at the same court on December 23. Charges against another 17-year-old boy were dropped.
CCTV from the N31 bus in Camden on May 30 showed Ms Geymonat and Ms Hannigan, an American, being punched. It is alleged the defendants also threw coins at the women, who both required hospital treatment for facial injuries.
In addition to the public order offences, the 16-year-old boy pleaded guilty to handling a stolen mobile phone and the 15-year-old admitted handling a stolen bank card.
During the hearing, Judge Susan Williams said the abuse "was quite clearly directed towards this couple because of who they are".
A picture of the bloodied faces of Ms Geymonat and Ms Hannigan went viral on the internet after the attack, sparking outrage across the world.
Ms Geymonat, who also lived in Takeley during her time with Ryanair, told the Indie before she moved to Barcelona and life out of the spotlight that she had felt compelled to speak out on behalf of other hate crime victims who did not share her high profile and platform.
She said: "I'm really not used to speaking to media, but we felt like we had a moral duty to speak about this because people are paying attention."
Before she left the country for the Catalan capital, she had meetings with London mayor Sadiq Khan and then Prime Minister Theresa May's team at 10 Downing Street about tackling homophobia.