‘We welcome these sentences. We also welcome the extension to the sentence for Ruby Thomas recognising that this terrible killing was homophobic,’ said Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill. ‘The reason that Stonewall secured provision for aggravated sentences in the 2003 Criminal Justice Act was precisely so that a powerful deterrent message can be sent that violence based on homophobic hate is as abhorrent as that based on racist hate.’
‘We remain mindful that the people who committed these offences were educated in secondary schools in this country in the last five years. If Britain’s schools continue to fail to tackle homophobic bullying then there’s a risk we’ll continue to see this sort of incident on our streets.’
Sixty-two year old civil servant Ian Baynham was attacked in Trafalgar Square on 25 September 2009. He died from his injuries 18 days later.
Ruby Thomas, 18, and Joel Alexander, 20, were convicted of manslaughter for their involvement in the killing and sentenced today for seven and six years respectively. Eighteen-year old Rachel Burke, who was convicted of affray, was sentenced to two years.
After the conviction of her brothers’ killers, Mr Baynham's sister Jenny said: "Ian’s only crime seems to have been to stand up for who he was, and it is impossible to make sense of the dreadful event that led to his death."
YouGov polling commissioned by Stonewall has found that one in five gay people have been victims of a homophobic hate crime or incident in the last three years. Seven in ten gay people do not report such incidents to the police because they do not believe they will be taken seriously. YouGov polling has also confirmed that nine in ten secondary school teachers and four in ten primary school teachers have recently witnessed homophobic bullying.
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