Two teens in England who pleaded guilty to attacking a gay man after shouting slurs were let go with a fine and an order to attend youth offender meetings for a year. But they won't be getting jail time.
The attackers, who were not named due to their ages, were ordered to pay two victims restitution of £150 (approximately $202.00 US) each, along with a £20 surcharge. In his ruling Friday, Magistrate Glenford Shipley-Younan told the boys that they would have most likely been looking at jail time if they had been adults, according to the Independent.
The attackers admitted to beating Will Mayrick, then 19, in October 2017 when he was out with friends in London. A female companion of Mayrick's came to his defense and was also injured after the teens punched her and pushed to the ground. The attackers shouted anti-gay slurs at the group, then put Mayrick into a headlock, grabbed his phone and threatened to stab him unless he apologized for being gay, according to the Evening Standard.
"I’m proud of the fact that I’m gay, I would never want to change. I’m not sorry," Mayrick told the Evening Standard. "But at the time I thought if I don’t apologize I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Anti-gay hate crimes in the UK were up nearly 80% from 2013 to 2017, and approximately one in five LGBT residents report having experienced a hate crime or incident, according to a 2017 report by the U.K.-based gay rights group Stonewall. The British Transport Police reported that incidents and hate crimes against transgender rail riders were up more than 70 percent in just one year, according to Pink News.
Mayrick, who is the president of the LGBT society at Ravensbourne, a London-based design and digital media college, said he was disappointed in the light punishment for his attackers. He blamed on a culture that, he said, does not teach LGBT acceptance.
"They were so young, and I can’t help but think that if they had had some sort LGBT education then the attack might never have happened," Mayrick told the court at the teens' sentencing.
Both boys expressed remorse and apologized at their hearing, telling the court they were drunk during the incident. But both had since quit drinking.
[Photo credit: Will Mayrick's Instagram, @wj_mayrick]