Man and woman sentenced for violent attack


Joshua Francis, 25, was sentenced today at Southwark Crown Court for assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Francis, who was found guilty after trial on 4th September, was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment.

Rachel Ferris, 35, pleaded guilty on 7th April to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault. She was sentenced to 16 months' imprisonment. Ferris' involvement was prosecuted as a homophobic hate crime.

The attack occurred on Saturday 19th October 2014 in Charing Cross Road. Rachel Ferris instigated the attack, targeting the victim because she believed him to be gay. She slapped the victim on the back of the head and when the victim confronted her she began a tirade of homophobic abuse and pushed him to the ground.

After the initial confrontation Joshua Francis then joined in the attack, kicking the victim to the ribs. Francis then continued the attack using a metal road sign to attack the victim and when this broke he and Ferris used a metal pole from the sign to attack the victim further.

Patricia Deighan, CPS London reviewing lawyer, said: "This was a sustained and shocking attack which was entirely unprovoked. To attack someone because of their perceived sexuality is simply unacceptable and hate crimes such as these have no place in our society.

"I would like to thank the victim and witnesses for their assistance in giving evidence in court, you have helped bring these defendants to justice.

"Tackling hate crime is a priority for the CPS and I hope the conviction of Ferris sends out a strong message to the LGBT communities that we are committed to securing justice for victims of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic crimes."