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Sussex woman jailed for homophobic assault
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 incidentAndy 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."
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