The judge who sentenced Ian Baynham’s killers today (26 January 2011) was able to take into account, when sentencing, that the horrific crime was aggravated by homophobia.
Violence based on homophobic hate is abhorrent and yet, Stonewall Scotland’s research shows, not uncommon. Shocking figures from our Community Safety Survey (2010) show:
• Two thirds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been verbally abused;
• A third of LGBT people have been physically attacked;
• Sixty one per cent of those physically attacked did not report it to the police;
• The figures also show a quarter of those surveyed said they would not report verbal abuse because it was just part of life as an LGBT person in Scotland.
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 to seven and six years, respectively. Eighteen-year old Rachel Burke, who was convicted of affray, was sentenced to two years.
Today, Carl Watt, Director of Stonewall Scotland, said, ‘It is important that we continue to challenge homophobia amongst young people, particularly in school, to prevent tragedies such as this occurring on our streets.’
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."
Notes to Editors
• Stonewall Scotland works to achieve equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
• In Scotland, the Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009 is the law that means homophobic and transphobic crimes are recognised by the legal system and treated appropriately. This came into force in March 2010.
• To download the full Community Safety Survey report, see www.stonewallscotland.org.uk/safe.
• Anonymous quotes from the Survey include:
“A gang of kids started shouting at my friend and me and then they started throwing rocks and bricks. There were about ten of them, no older than say fifteen. We carried on walking trying to ignore them when one of them turned round and punched my friend in the face and me in the shoulder.”
“My wife and I were walking down the street holding hands when we were shot by an air rifle, followed by the shouting of homophobic abuse.”