A trio of teenagers pleaded guilty Thursday to public order offenses related to an attack on a same-sex couple on a London bus, which occurred after the two women said they refused to kiss for the boys’ entertainment.
The unidentified teens — two 16-year-olds and one 15-year-old — pleaded guilty to a variety of charges, including committing hate crimes and handling stolen property, according to a statement from the London Metropolitan Police. They will be sentenced on Dec. 23. Charges were dropped against a fourth teen.
Judge Susan Williams said the abuse “was quite clearly directed towards this couple because of who they are.”
A photo of the bloodied women that they posted on Facebook after the May encounter stunned Londoners. Melania Geymonat of Uruguay and American Christine Hannigan were punched several times in the face, according to police. The confrontation was captured on surveillance video released by police.
Before the attack, one of the teens threw coins at the women because the boys saw the couple as “some form of entertainment,” prosecutor Saira Khan told the judge, according to Sky News.
The teens “surrounded us and started saying really aggressive stuff, things about sexual positions, lesbians, and claiming we could kiss so they could watch us,” Geymonat, 28, told BBC Radio after the attack. They also stole a phone and a handbag from the couple.
“This sickening incident was utterly unacceptable,” Mandy McGregor, head of Transport Policing and Community Safety at Transport for London, said in a statement. “Homophobic abuse is a hate crime and won’t be tolerated on our network.”
Hannigan told the BBC after the attack: “I was and still am angry. It was scary, but this is not a novel situation.”
The surveillance video of the confrontation released by London police is posted below. Be warned, it’s disturbing.
This has been updated throughout.