Sussex woman jailed for homophobic assault

April James who was jailed for a homophobic attack

April James who was jailed for a homophobic attack

First published in News by , Crime reporter

A gang of girls kicked a teenager in the head for being a lesbian.

The group of female thugs beat up the 16-year-old after seeing her kiss her girlfriend on a train.

The teenage victim said she felt “ashamed” after the attack, while gay rights campaigners blasted schools for failing to tackle homophobic bullying.

April James, 20, was jailed for six weeks after being convicted of the homophobic beating.

She was caught after her victim trawled Facebook to find the thug responsible after she was kicked as she lay on the ground during the attack.

The teenager and her girlfriend had been travelling on a train between Hastings and Bexhill when they kissed in front of other passengers.

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

Andy Wasley, of gay rights charity Stonewall

She was then subjected to homophobic taunts by the gang, then physically attacked.

She fell to the floor and James kicked her.

James, of Carfax Close, Bexhill, pleaded guilty to assault by beating at Hastings Magistrates’s Court.

After the sentencing the victim’s mother said: “I’m immensely proud of my daughter and the choice she has made but this incident left her feeling ashamed and has had an immeasurable impact on her and the rest of our family.

“In this day and age everyone should have the right to go about their business and be who they want to be without fear of abuse or repercussions.”

Andy Wasley, from gay rights charity Stonewall, said: "People will no doubt feel safer knowing that April James is now behind bars.

“Stonewall has campaigned hard to make sure anti-gay crime is treated seriously by the police and courts. We remain mindful that she was 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.”

PC Billy Burstow said: “The girl was violently attacked and stood no chance of defending herself against five others.

“I hope the prison sentence handed down to April James shows that violence and discriminatory, homophobic abuse will simply not be tolerated by the police and the courts."

Comments (10)

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5:43pm Thu 17 May 12

Old Ladys Gin says...

And prison will help/heal the likes of her?
And prison will help/heal the likes of her? Old Ladys Gin
  • Score: 0

5:54pm Thu 17 May 12

freewheelingdom says...

I think two lesbians kissing is one of the sweetest things in the world. I hope she recovers both mentally and physically and stays strong with her beliefs.
I think two lesbians kissing is one of the sweetest things in the world. I hope she recovers both mentally and physically and stays strong with her beliefs. freewheelingdom
  • Score: 0

5:57pm Thu 17 May 12

Fercri Sakes says...

Old Ladys Gin wrote:
And prison will help/heal the likes of her?
Prison wont help or heal most people but it should teach them a lesson and be a deterrent to others.

Then again, maybe she'll be taught quite a bit about lesbianism during her six weeks inside.
[quote][p][bold]Old Ladys Gin[/bold] wrote: And prison will help/heal the likes of her?[/p][/quote]Prison wont help or heal most people but it should teach them a lesson and be a deterrent to others. Then again, maybe she'll be taught quite a bit about lesbianism during her six weeks inside. Fercri Sakes
  • Score: 0

6:56pm Thu 17 May 12

Angryoldman says...

A face only her mother could love.
A face only her mother could love. Angryoldman
  • Score: 0

8:18pm Thu 17 May 12

Softspoken says...

Frankly I think the most shocking thing in this story is the comment from Andy Wasley...

"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.”

In that case am I to believe that if schools do tackle homophobic bullying then there is no risk we will continue to see this sort of incident?

His comment directly lays the blame for this and any possible future homophobic attacks directly at school staff.

I suggest that if he wants to make a difference he must stop, take a deep breath, and analyse the problem from an unbiased angle whilst considering every possibilty before making such direct comments.

I am not denying education helps, and schools are an integral part of the development of our youth. However, this statement is narrow-minded and quite frankly an insult to school staff.

Teachers do a fantastic job against difficult odds but if Andy decides to "remain mindful that she was educated in secondary schools in this country in the last five years" when a 20 year old commits a crime then he is either thinking inside a very small box or has such an obvious agenda I wont bother typing it.

From a parental point of view, I can say my kids wouldnt need to be taught tolerance at school. That lesson I believe is my duty as a loving father.

If, at the age of 20, one of my children commited any kind of crime, hate or otherwise, I wouldnt wind the clocks back to schooling. I would look at myself, our family unit, their friendships or the media they are exposing themselves to just for starters.

Im not against Stonewall, in fact I would support any body that fought for equality. Unfortunately, I could never get behind an organisation with a spokesperson who talks without thinking.
Frankly I think the most shocking thing in this story is the comment from Andy Wasley... "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.” In that case am I to believe that if schools do tackle homophobic bullying then there is no risk we will continue to see this sort of incident? His comment directly lays the blame for this and any possible future homophobic attacks directly at school staff. I suggest that if he wants to make a difference he must stop, take a deep breath, and analyse the problem from an unbiased angle whilst considering every possibilty before making such direct comments. I am not denying education helps, and schools are an integral part of the development of our youth. However, this statement is narrow-minded and quite frankly an insult to school staff. Teachers do a fantastic job against difficult odds but if Andy decides to "remain mindful that she was educated in secondary schools in this country in the last five years" when a 20 year old commits a crime then he is either thinking inside a very small box or has such an obvious agenda I wont bother typing it. From a parental point of view, I can say my kids wouldnt need to be taught tolerance at school. That lesson I believe is my duty as a loving father. If, at the age of 20, one of my children commited any kind of crime, hate or otherwise, I wouldnt wind the clocks back to schooling. I would look at myself, our family unit, their friendships or the media they are exposing themselves to just for starters. Im not against Stonewall, in fact I would support any body that fought for equality. Unfortunately, I could never get behind an organisation with a spokesperson who talks without thinking. Softspoken
  • Score: 0

8:35pm Thu 17 May 12

mimseycal says...

Well said Softspoken. It is my right and duty as a parent to educate my children as far as social conduct, tolerance and manners are concerned.
Well said Softspoken. It is my right and duty as a parent to educate my children as far as social conduct, tolerance and manners are concerned. mimseycal
  • Score: 0

10:09pm Thu 17 May 12

hubby says...

Why are people so worried by love when it is hate that should bother us?
Why are people so worried by love when it is hate that should bother us? hubby
  • Score: 0

10:11pm Thu 17 May 12

Lady Smith says...

Six weeks? Oh, that'll teach her then. Not.
Six weeks? Oh, that'll teach her then. Not. Lady Smith
  • Score: 0

11:28am Sat 19 May 12

davyboy says...

i fully agree good manners are taught at home, not left to schools. if children see their parents doing these things, they will think it is ok to do. clearly had a poor upbringing, or was never chastised for doing wrong!
i fully agree good manners are taught at home, not left to schools. if children see their parents doing these things, they will think it is ok to do. clearly had a poor upbringing, or was never chastised for doing wrong! davyboy
  • Score: 0

11:34am Sat 19 May 12

mimseycal says...

A lot of comments have been removed from this thread. Not all of those were abusive or tongue in cheek.
A lot of comments have been removed from this thread. Not all of those were abusive or tongue in cheek. mimseycal
  • Score: 0

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