2010-04-20 07:25:02 UTC
Two teenage schoolgirls killed a gay man because of his sexuality in a
scene reminiscent of the film A Clockwork Orange, a court heard
Ruby Thomas and Rachael Burke were just 17 when they and friend Joel
Alexander, then 18, attacked civil servant Ian Baynham in Trafalgar
Square after an alcohol-fuelled night out.
They hurled homophobic abuse as the openly gay 62-year-old walked past
them with his partner, the Old Bailey was told.
As he confronted them, Mr Baynham was knocked unconscious by one blow to
the head from Alexander, falling to the ground and suffering a severe
The girls then stamped on his chest and head as he lay helpless on the
blood-spattered pavement, the court was told.
He died in hospital three weeks later.
Mr Baynham, who was enjoying an evening out to celebrate getting a new
job on September 25 last year, was a 'defenceless' victim, the jury
Brian Altman QC, prosecuting said: 'The scene was Trafalgar Square, in
the heart of London, home to the National Gallery, Nelson's column and
'On one side is the South African embassy and the pavement outside it
was the scene of a despicable incident in which Ian Baynham was brutally
attacked by these defendants, who attacked him with such a degree of
violence that he died from his injuries 18 days later.'
He added that one witness likened the level of violence to a scene from
the film A Clockwork Orange, the 1971 Stanley Kubrick film which caused
outrage on release over its depiction of a gang of teenagers carrying
out orgies of sadistic violence.
Mr Altman added: 'The story of this case is an all too familiar
depressing tale of drunken, loutish behaviour, but what these defendants
did that night went far beyond mere antisocial behaviour. 'Two of them
are teenage girls, fuelled by copious amounts of alcohol. They
confronted Mr Baynham with abuse and then together with Joel Alexander
they jointly participated in a violent attack on a defenceless man in
public.' The jury was shown grainy CCTV footage of the trio, who had
travelled together from their homes in South London, at various stages
of their evening.
The girls could be seen swigging from cans of drink.
A friend who saw them earlier that night described Thomas, a trainee
beauty therapist, as 'off her face', flirting with men who walked past
and trying to pick fights.
Shortly before attacking Mr Baynham, Burke and Thomas tried to pick a
fight with a group of black youngsters, it was claimed.
One witness also said he saw them pointing at another pair of gay men,
walking hand in hand, and one saying, 'We can do them', with the other
Others saw them acting aggressively and having to be restrained by their
friends when they reached Trafalgar Square at about 10pm.
'What led to Mr Baynham's death began when Ruby Thomas shouted '****ing
faggots' as he and Philip Brown walked past just minding their own
business,' Mr Altman said.
Mr Brown then urged Mr Baynham, who was from Beckenham, Kent, to ignore
the taunts and carry on walking, the court heard.
'A physical confrontation between Mr Baynham and Ruby Thomas escalated,'
Mr Altman added. 'Joel Alexander intervened and he lunged at Mr Baynham,
punching him once to the side of his face with a clenched fist.
'The blow felled him to the ground and it's clear that the force of the
punch was such as to render Mr Baynham unconscious, the back of his head
hit the ground with nothing to break the fall.
'He suffered a severe brain injury from which ultimately he was to die.
'But that did not suffice. Shocked onlookers saw repeated stamping on Mr
Baynham's chest and forceful kicks to his head. He was fitting on the
ground and bled on to the pavement.'
The girls, now aged 18, were studying at college and living with their
parents at the time of the attack.
Alexander is now 19. Burke, from Upper Norwood, Thomas, from Crystal
Palace, and Alexander, from Thornton Heath, all in South London, deny
Burke is also charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm for
allegedly punching Mr Brown repeatedly as he tried to stop her escaping
into Charing Cross rail and Tube station.
The trial, expected to last two and a half weeks, continues.