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Teenage girls go on trial for homophobic attack

Drunken girls beat man to death in Trafalgar Square in scene recalling 'A Clockwork Orange', court hears

A gay man was beaten to death by two drunken teenage girls in a homophobic attack which was likened to a scene from the violent 1970s film A Clockwork Orange, a court heard yesterday.

Ian Baynham, 62, was stamped on and kicked in the head by 18-year-olds Rachel Burke and Ruby Thomas, who set upon him after their friend Joel Alexander, 19, had punched the man to the ground, the Old Bailey was told.

Mr Baynham was attacked as he walked through Trafalgar Square, in central London, with his friend Philip Brown, in September last year. He died in hospital 18 days later. The jury heard that the attack started after Mr Baynham and Mr Brown had been subjected to abuse; Ruby Thomas allegedly called the pair "fucking faggots".

Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, told the court: "The scene is Trafalgar Square at the very heart of London, one of this city's most famous open spaces, home to the National Gallery, Nelson's Column, the famous plinths and late that evening, a scene of despicable violence. One onlooker likened the level of violence to a scene from the film A Clockwork Orange.

"What happened was an all too familiar and depressing tale of drunken loutish behaviour.

"Two of these defendants are teenage girls. Fuelled by copious amounts of alcohol, they confronted Mr Baynham with abuse. Together with Joel Alexander, they jointly participated in a violent attack on a defenceless man in public."

The jury was told that, after being subjected to the abuse, Mr Baynham remonstrated with the girls and slapped Rachel Burke. He was then punched by Alexander and fell to the floor, knocking himself unconscious.

While on the floor, he he was attacked by the girls, the court heard. Shocked onlookers saw repeated stamping on his chest and forceful kicks to the head.

"He began making snoring noises, evidence of unconsciousness, and fitting on the pavement, signs of primary brain damage," Mr Altman said. "It was obvious that Mr Baynham was critically injured."

When Mr Brown attempted to intervene, he too was attacked and punched in the face several times by Burke, the barrister said.

The court was told that the group had previously attempted to fight with a group of black youths and had been causing a disturbance in the square. Mr Altman described how the drunken girls were swaggering around Trafalgar Square holding cans of beer, intent on causing a scene.

He went on: "One witness spotted the girls because they were extremely loud and being confrontational. They looked as though they were out to cause trouble. One of them reacted aggressively to someone who bumped into them. They were egging each other on. People were giving them a wide berth."

Alexander, of Thornton Heath, Surrey, Burke, of Three Oaks, East Sussex, and Thomas, of Lichfield, Staffordshire, all deny manslaughter and violent disorder. Burke further denies causing Mr Brown actual bodily harm.