Two lesbian lovers were attacked by three teenage thugs when they were travelling home on a night bus after they refused to kiss and perform sex acts.

Dr Melania Geymonat, 28, and her girlfriend Christine Hannigan were on the upper deck of a double-decker night bus in Camden, north London, when they were confronted by the youths in the early hours of October 30.

Footage of the horror attack has now been released after three teenage boys today admitted threatening the two lovers while hurling coins at them on a night bus.

Two of the youths turned and laughed at each other as the CCTV footage of them was played in court.

In the clip, the teenagers can be seen sitting at the end of the top deck of the bus before approaching the two women and sitting around them.

Ms Geymonat, who has also been known as Ms Ramirez, was holding Ms Hannigan who was pretending to be sick, while talking to the boys and appearing to try to diffuse the situation.

After a few minutes, the boys started making gestures before the whole group moves around the bus. Ms Hannigan later ran toward the boys, one of whom took her handbag.

A scuffle is seen, with punches thrown by the youths towards the two woman, before the youths descend to the lower deck of the bus. Ms Geymonat was later seen with a bloodied nose9

District Judge Susan Williams, sitting at Highbury Corner Youth Court, said that the CCTV showed the youths treating the young women as some sort of ‘side show’.

‘I have seen the footage of two young women obviously out on an evening behaving in an overtly affectionate manner with each other and a group of young men thinking this some sort of big joke,’ said Judge Williams.

‘It is perfectly obvious the fact this is a same sex couple is what attracted the attention of these boys in the first place and what piqued their interest.’

She added: ‘I don’t know whether I would describe it as a hate crime but they quite clearly targeted the couple and behaved in an entirely inappropriate fashion.’

Soon after the attack Dr Geymonat, referred to in court as Melania Ramirez, shared a photograph of herself and her date covered in blood after the incident, which made headlines around the world.

Prosecutor Saira Khan told Highbury Corner Youth Court: ‘There is targeted behaviour towards both complainants and that does relate to their sexual orientation.’

The teenagers, aged 15, 16 and 17, appeared in court on Thursday after previously denying charges of harassment by using threatening or abusive words or behaviour.

The court previously heard the Dor Geymonat, from Uruguay, who was working as an air stewardess for Ryan air at the time, were surrounded by the boys, hit with coins and subjected to sexual gestures after they refused to perform a sex act.

Before the trial on Thursday, which was expected to last two days, all the teenagers who cannot be named due to their ages, admitted the public order offences.

Prosecutor Saira Khan told the court the teenagers each played different roles during the nine-minute incident. Charges were dropped today against a 17-year-old.

The 16-year-old also admitted stealing a brown handbag belonging to Ms Geymonat and illegally handling a Google Pixel 2 XL phone worth £300.

The 15-year-old denied retaining stolen property, namely Ms Geymonat’s bank card.

Two harassment charges against another 17-year-old were not pursued due to lack of evidence.

They are due to be sentenced later by District Judge Susan Williams.

David Wood, defending the 17-year-old, argued that his client’s behaviour was ‘adolescent’ and not motivated by homophobia.

‘It is not is an offence which demonstrates either before or after it any hostility on the basis of sexual orientation,’ said Mr Wood.

‘The coin throwing is obviously pathetic. It is a criminal offence for which he will be sentenced.

‘It has nothing to do with an attack which is based on sexual orientation.’

Speaking to BBC London News just days after the attack, Ms Hannigan revealed in shocking detail what happened to them.

Ms Hannigan said: ‘They got up out of their seats and walked over to where we were and started very aggressively harassing us.

‘One of them stayed a couple of rows behind and was throwing coins at us.

‘I did not engage with him at all. Initially Melania was trying to deescalate the situation. She was being friendly but trying to keep them at bay.’

Both were left with facial injuries which took place as the pair were travelling to Ms Hannigan’s home in Camden.

She continued: ‘Fighting broke out and I don’t know how we got from fighting on the top of the bus down to the lower deck but in that time frame they took my phone, her bag and they ran off the bus.’

The incident came as figures from the Metropolitan Police showed an 18 per cent rise in homophobic and transgender attacks on last year – from May 2017 to April 2018.

Miss Geymonat added: ‘The violence is not only because we are women who are dating each other. It’s also because we are women.’

Defiantly standing up for herself following the attack – and asked what people should take from the incident, Ms Hannigan said: ‘I’m not scared about being visibly queer.

‘There are a lot of people’s rights at risk and people’s basic safety is at risk.

‘I want people to feel emboldened to stand up to the same people who feel emboldened. I want people to stand up for themselves and each other.’

Miss Geymonat, also recalled the shock attack – moments after she refused to kiss for the gang.

She said: ‘They wanted us to kiss so they could watch us. I tried to defuse the situation as I’m not a confrontational person, telling them to please leave us alone as Chris wasn’t feeling well.’

The gang began throwing things on the bus – which was travelling towards Camden, where Chris lives – and the couple told them to stop.

Both women were taken to hospital for treatment to facial injuries.

The pair said they had decided to sit at the front on the top deck because they both enjoy the novelty of a double decker bus.

Miss Geymonat, who moved to the UK in February and is on a year’s sabbatical from her medical studies, said she had felt safe as a gay woman in London.

But after being stunned by the attack, she released the picture to raise awareness of violence against women and gay people.

Miss Geymonat added: ‘It’s not something isolated, it’s common. We were seen as entertainment, that’s what makes me so angry.’

She added: ‘It’s a surprise to me. I know that there is a lot of verbal violence all the time, and that’s the thing that made me tell the story. Even when these guys came, it was not the first situation when men see two women kissing and they start asking us if we were a show.

‘I have gay friends who have been in the streets and they have been punched all over.

‘Now, other people have told me a lot of violence is going on, that we were even lucky that we were on a bus, because if we were in the streets, nobody knows what could have happened.’

She said the police had been ‘extremely good’ in dealing with the incident.

Miss Geymonat shared about her experiences on Wednesday in a Facebook post which attracted thousands of comments and 9,700 shares.

Prime Minister at the time Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn both condemned the attack.

Mrs May said: ‘This was a sickening attack and my thoughts are with the couple affected.

‘Nobody should ever have to hide who they are or who they love and we must work together to eradicate unacceptable violence towards the LGBT community.’

Mr Corbyn labelled the attack ‘absolutely shocking, saying: ‘We must not, and will not, accept this homophobic and misogynist violence in our society.

‘Solidarity to Melania and Chris, and to all in the LGBT+ community for everything they endure for simply being who they are.’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: ‘This was a disgusting, misogynistic attack. Hate crimes against the LGBT+ community will not be tolerated in London.’

Miss Geymonat graduated last year as a doctor at the Universidad de la República in Montevideo and had worked at the Hospital de Clínicas Montevideo before moving to the UK.

In an online profile, she said she had been ‘motivated by telling stories’ since she was a girl, and had also studied acting.

She originally comes from Palmitas, a small town of less than 3,000 people in Uruguay, but later moved to Montevideo. She has also lived in Barcelona, Santiago in Chile and on a boat in Greece. Miss Geymonat also spent time travelling Italy, where her family originally come from.

 

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