Ruby Thomas, 19, guilty of drunk attack killing gay civil servant in Trafalgar Square

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By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 4:43 PM on 16th December 2010


  • Former public schoolgirl screamed 'F****** faggots' at victim before attack
  • Shocked onlookers saw man being punched to the ground and repeatedly kicked by trio of attackers
The court heard Ruby Thomas, 18, screamed 'f***ing faggots' before kicking the victim as he lay on the floor. She is pictured in April this year

The court heard Ruby Thomas, 18, screamed 'f***ing faggots' before kicking the victim as he lay on the floor. She is pictured in April this year

A former public schoolgirl who hurled homophobic abuse at a gay civil servant before kicking and stamping on him during a deadly attack was facing jail today.

Ruby Thomas, 18, was found guilty of the manslaughter of 62-year-old Ian Baynham, who died 18 days after the drink-fuelled assault in London's Trafalgar Square.

Police later found his blood smeared on her handbag and the ballet pumps she was wearing as she kicked him.

The court heard she smiled as she 'put the boot into' Mr Baynham after he was knocked to the ground by another teenager, Joel Alexander.

Thomas's ex-boyfriend told the Old Bailey that the blonde teenager, of Anerley, south east London, was 'not the type of girl' to have done it.

But jurors did not agree and convicted her of manslaughter, along with Alexander, 20, of Thornton Heath, south east London.

A third defendant, 18-year-old Rachael Burke, of Upper Norwood, south east London, was found guilty of affray at an earlier trial.

Thomas, a former pupil at £12,000-a-year Sydenham High School for Girls, had a previous record for violence.

She was just 15 when she assaulted a bus driver in Northumberland Avenue in December 2007, a short walk from where the attack on Mr Baynham took place.

On the night Mr Baynham was attacked in September last year Thomas was said to have been 'off her face', acting in a 'lairy, mouthy' way, and flirting with random men.

The court heard that Thomas screamed 'f       faggots' at the victim and his friend Philip Brown.

When Mr Baynham confronted her, there was a scuffle during which she hit him with her handbag and he grabbed it.

Alexander then ran up and knocked him to the ground, causing a severe brain injury as his head struck the pavement.

Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said: 'That did not suffice. There is evidence that the female defendants then began putting the boot into Mr Baynham, who was still prone on his back, clearly unconscious and in distress.'

He said the girls were 'fuelled by copious amounts of alcohol' and one witness likened the attack to a scene from the film A Clockwork Orange.

'Shocked onlookers saw repeated stamping to his chest and forceful kicks to his head,' said Mr Altman.

Thomas looked distraught as the verdicts were returned and put her head in her hands.

Both defendants will be sentenced in the new year.

Mr Baynham was in the first week of a new job as a team leader in border control at the Home Office when he was killed.

The day before the attack, he had phoned his sister Jenny Baynham and told her how much he was enjoying the new role.

She was at his bedside when he died from a brain injury sustained during the assault, together with Mr Baynham's friend George Richardson.

Mr Richardson described the victim as 'a perfectly normal man who just happened to be gay'.

The court heard that the teenagers who attacked him had been drinking before they set upon him outside South Africa House on September 25 last year.

One witness overheard the group talking about two other men walking past them earlier holding hands, with one of the girls saying 'We can do them' and a youth replying 'Of course we can'.

Ian Baynham, 62, who suffered fatal head injuries in an assault close to the South African High Commission, in Trafalgar Square

Ian Baynham, 62, who suffered fatal head injuries in an assault close to the South African High Commission, in Trafalgar Square

Guilty: Joel Alexander, 19, arriving at the Old Bailey in London. He was found guilty of Mr Baynham's manslaughter. Rachael Burke, 18, of Three Oaks, East Sussex, convicted of affray

When Mr Baynham and Mr Brown appeared, Thomas began making homophobic comments.

Mr Baynham was heard to say to her 'No, I don't want to sleep with you' and a comment that began 'I may be gay but...'.

A scuffle broke out and Alexander, who had been with Thomas's group, ran up and punched the victim to the ground.

Mr Brown said his friend 'fell like a corpse', hitting his head on the pavement with a 'crunching noise'.

Alexander, a sports science student at the University of East London, later explained that he felt he 'had to act' because 'a grown man shouldn't hit a girl'.

His punch knocked Mr Baynham out, leaving him lying on the pavement making a snoring noise and with blood pouring from his ear, nose and mouth.

Jamie Devlin, another teenager who was there, saw Thomas stamp on his stomach and kick him in the head while calling him a 'dickhead' and saying 'f you'.

A further witness, Jill Shukla, and her husband tried to shield their teenage daughter and her friends from the scenes of violence as they walked by after a night out at the Palladium to celebrate her 16th birthday.

Ian Baynham

Moment of the assault: The three can be seen attacking Ian Baynham in the top right corner of this CCTV image

oel Alexander, Rachael Burke and Ruby Thomas, on the corner of Trafalgar Square and the Strand after the attack on Mr Baynham

Joel Alexander, Rachael Burke and Ruby Thomas, on the corner of Trafalgar Square and the Strand after the attack on Mr Baynham

She said: 'I saw the girl stamping on him repeatedly with force, probably four or five times. She was smiling.'

The attackers ran off. In a Facebook chat the next day, Thomas joked about her row with 'some c   ' who pulled her bag, adding: 'Ha, ha, ha.'

After Mr Baynham died, she rang Declan Seavers, who was her boyfriend at the time, to say her picture was in the Evening Standard and 'they thought that she had done it', the court heard.

She told him: 'Listen baby, I swear to God I didn't touch him. The papers have got it all wrong.'

Mr Seavers, 24, said he did not believe the accounts of homophobic abuse.

'She wouldn't say something like that. She's not that type of girl,' he told the Old Bailey.

But Christopher Sallon QC, defending Thomas, said she admitted kicking and stamping Mr Baynham.

Mr Sallon claimed that while her behaviour was 'horrific and shocking and reprehensible', it could not be proved that she was responsible for his death.

A CCTV still issued by the Metropolitan Police of (circled) Ruby Thomas (front) and Rachael Burke (following) after the attack

A CCTV still issued by the Metropolitan Police of (circled) Ruby Thomas (front) and Rachael Burke (following) after the attack

Jurors in a trial earlier this year were unable to reach verdicts on Thomas and Alexander although they did convict Burke, a design student, of affray.

The two killers were found guilty of manslaughter today by unanimous verdicts at a re-trial.

Thomas had carried out a previous drunken attack when she was 15, on an Asian bus driver, near the spot where she attacked Mr Baynham.

She punched, kicked and spat at Aasim Shah as he took his break in Northumberland Avenue in December 2007, later pleading guilty to common assault as well as possession of a bladed article, and was given a nine-month referral order.

Thomas had previously been a pupil at Sydenham High School for Girls in south London but left in May 2007. At the time of the attack, she was training to become a beauty therapist.

As the jury was discharged, a woman in the public gallery shouted: 'You are wrong.'

After the verdict, Jenny Baynham told the court her brother had 'deep-rooted traditional values and would always stand up for his beliefs'.

She said in an impact statement that her family visited Mr Baynham in hospital before he died.

'I was horrified at what had happened and found it difficult to understand why anyone could have assaulted him in that way,' she said.

The ballet pump shoes worn by Ruby Thomas on the night of the attack on Ian Baynham. Spots of his blood were found on the shoes

The ballet pump shoes worn by Ruby Thomas on the night of the attack on Ian Baynham. Spots of his blood were found on the shoes

Baynham

Evidence: The handbag used by Ruby Thomas on the night of the attack. The straps were torn during the confrontation

Mr Baynham's death had 'devastated' their 90-year-old mother.

She added: 'It seems so ironic that his life ended so horrifically and senselessly on the streets of London which he loved so much.'

Ms Baynham said her brother was openly gay but had sometimes regretted not being heterosexual and married with children.

'He was very aware some people were prejudiced against him,' she said.

Detective Inspector Paul Barran, who led the investigation, said: 'First and foremost, Ian's death was totally unnecessary.

'The police investigation clearly showed a background of aggressive, drunken behaviour that led to hostile confrontations with others - decency and respect were non-existent.'

He said the 'horrific' attack resulted in 'tragedy' for Mr Baynham's family.

'Our thoughts will always be with them as they try to come to terms with the death of a gentleman with genuine morals.

Ruby Thomas (front) and Rachael Burke in Hungerford Bridge lift after the attack on Ian Baynham

Ruby Thomas (front) and Rachael Burke in Hungerford Bridge lift after the attack on Ian Baynham

'The dark shadow of that evening's events will remain with those involved for a long time, and as shown by the court today, there is no place whatsoever in our society for any type of aggressive, abusive, confrontational behaviour or homophobic crime.'

Thomas boasted about attacking Mr Baynham on the internet

Thomas boasted about attacking Mr Baynham on the internet

Mr Baynham's sister Jenny said: 'My brother was an ordinary, honest, decent man, loved by his family, especially our mother, and his many friends.

'His only crime seems to have been to stand up for who he was, and it is impossible to make sense of the dreadful event that led to his death.'

The victim's friend George Richardson said: 'Ian's death resulted from an attack motivated by homophobia.

'Mindless violence generated by a total absence of tolerance and fuelled, as we now so often see, by alcohol. It has pointlessly robbed myself and others of an excellent friend.

'Ian died because he was proud and honest about who he was. I can only hope this will encourage all victims of hate crime, however perpetrated, to report these to the police.'

Detective Superintendent Darren Williams, of the Met's Violent Crime Directorate, said: 'Homophobic attacks of this severity that have led to the death of the victim are thankfully very rare in London.

'However, we recognise there continues to be significant under-reporting of homophobic and other hate crimes and would urge any victims to come forward to us directly or via our range of third-party reporting systems.'

The sister of Ian Baynham told how she held his hand while his life ebbed away in a hospital bed 18 days after he was subjected to a vicious homophobic attack.

Jenny Baynham, 59, said: 'I have lost a dear brother. I miss him dreadfully and we can't get him back.'

Miss Baynham also spoke of her anger about the anti-gay abuse hurled at her 'wonderful' brother and said: 'It's so wrong.'

She paid tribute to the 62-year-old civil servant who she said 'got on well with everybody' and was starting a new job when he was killed.

Ian Baynham, 62, with his sister Jenny. She said: 'I have lost a dear brother. I miss him dreadfully and we can't get him back'

Ian Baynham with his sister Jenny. She said: 'I have lost a dear brother. I miss him dreadfully and we can't get him back'

The senior nurse described how her 89-year-old mother Muriel, who he 'adored', had also been left 'desperately upset' by what happened.

George Richardson, a close friend of the victim for more than 10 years, said the attack was 'so mindless and so random'.

He and Miss Baynham both said they hoped more people would now come forward to report homophobic attacks.

In September last year Mr Baynham was in the first week of a new job as a team leader with the company Serco in border control contracted to the Home Office, and had phoned his sister to say how much he was enjoying it.

The next evening he and a friend, Philip Brown, were walking through Trafalgar Square on their way home from a night out when they were bombarded with homophobic abuse, and Mr Baynham was knocked out cold before being kicked and stamped on.

George Richardson

George Richardson, a close friend of the victim for more than 10 years, said the attack was 'so mindless and so random'

He was taken to the Royal London Hospital, where he died from a brain injury 18 days later.

His sister said: 'I went to the hospital nearly every day and when I first saw Ian I looked at him and I thought 'I can't see how you are going to survive'.

'He looked so ill. The hospital staff were fantastic. They did everything they could but he never responded, probably from when he was rendered unconscious. That was the last time he knew any life, I think.'

She was at his bedside, 24 hours after the tubes that had kept him alive were removed, alongside Mr Richardson, a retired 53-year-old.

The shock that she had felt at the news he had been attacked returned.

'I suppose it was the reality that he wasn't going to be with us anymore,' she said.

Mr Richardson said: 'You spend 18 days hoping for some kind of miracle. But when I saw the medical staff on the night he was admitted, they told me how very poorly he was.'

Describing her brother's last moments, Miss Baynham said: 'We were both holding his hand.'

She said hospital staff were about to move him to another unit when she noticed that his breathing was changing.

'I said to George 'I think he's slipping away' so we were left and we were with him, which was quite important to us.'

Miss Baynham spoke of her revulsion on hearing in court about the homophobic language used against her brother.

She said: 'I can't believe it. That makes me angry to hear that. I am not normally angry but I just feel it's so wrong, it should never be. We shouldn't be able to treat each other like that - something about dignity and respect.

'It doesn't matter who you are, we should be able to give that to everyone, whoever we come across.'

She added: 'I do believe that we do need to do something about any sort of abuse to anybody. It is just not acceptable but it is particularly tragic because it is so close.

'I thought that we had moved on a long way and I am really surprised that this sort of thing is still thrown up and is still an issue.

'But I think that it is the general public's responsibility to do something about that and report more of these sorts of incidents.

'There is still a huge prejudice relating to homophobia.

'I have seen that not only in this country but also in Australia and I think a lot more needs to be done.

'I don't think there is an easy answer to it and I think as individuals everybody has certain feelings about different sections of society but it is about tolerance, that is important.'

She said she hoped 'something positive' would come out of what happened.

Mr Richardson said he was 'probably not as shocked and surprised' about the nature of the attack 'because you know how much of it goes on'.

Baynham

Thugs: Ruby Thomas (centre) and Rachael Burke (back) in Hungerford Bridge lift after the attack on Ian Baynham

'You know how much of it in the past has been under-reported, and I hope more people are prepared to come forward now,' he said.

Mr Richardson added: 'If you are flamboyant in any particular way you are going to attract some kind of attention.

'In the case of Ian and Phil you are talking about two perfectly ordinarily dressed, ordinary men, doing nothing to attract this kind of abuse.'

Miss Baynham said she had always been very close to her brother and even when she moved to Australia for 10 years they would phone three times a week.

'We were never really far apart and we had a very close, understanding relationship,' she said.

'He was my protector in a way. I always think of him being somebody who would stand up for me if I had a few problems. He was always there to help me out.

'He was very generous. He loved people. He had this great knack of engaging people. My younger brother and I used to say that he really was a must at any party because he loved it. He got on well with everybody.

'He was wonderful to have around. He was particularly sensitive towards my elderly mother. She adored him and they had an adorable relationship, a very loving relationship.'

Miss Baynham said of her mother: 'She never ever thought she would have to deal with this happening in her family.

'It is not the sort of thing that you come across. She also thought that she would die before him.'

It was Mrs Baynham who rang her daughter the day after the attack to tell her what had happened.

'She was desperately upset,' said Miss Baynham.

Mr Baynham was the older brother to Jenny and Anthony Baynham, 52. The family is from west London.

Mr Richardson said his friend was 'a perfectly normal man who just happened to be gay' and was 'always entertaining to be with'.

'If ever you went out around Soho or somewhere like that he would always bump into people he knew, and he stayed friends with people for a long time.'

He added: 'The idea of finding closure after something like this is practically impossible because it was so mindless and so random.'

 

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