Teenager sentenced to 21 months detention for homophobic attack - Hertford

21/05/2014

A teenager, who launched a homophobic attack on a gay man in Hertford, was sentenced to 21 months today, Wednesday, 21 May 2014.

Daniel Keem, aged 18, attacked Neil Johnson after calling him homophobic names.

Giving evidence at St Albans Crown Court today, Mr Johnson said as he went into the Co-op in Fleming Crescent he saw a group of 8 or 9 youths standing outside.  He said he recognised Keem, who was wearing a hoodie, because he lives near him and he had made comments in the past.  "He shouted names, but I just ignored it and walked into the shop. I don't normally respond to it. It encourages homophobia" he said.

Mr Johnson said he was in an openly gay relationship with his partner. Inside the shop he said the assistant, a neighbour called Lucy, had heard the abuse and asked if he wanted to leave by the back door.  He decided to leave by the entrance and heard Keem shout further abuse.  In the past he said Keem had made a couple of homophobic comments.

As he walked off down Windsor Drive he said two people came running. "I was confronted by Daniel.  He punched me and tried to headbutt me. Someone grabbed my arm and pushed me around."  He said he was pushed into a bush and was punched and kicked.  His injuries included swelling to the right eye, a cut above the eyebrow and a swollen nose.

Keem, of Longwood Road, admitted causing actual bodily harm on Thursday, 10 October last year, but his victim was called to give evidence, because he denied he had made homophobic remarks.

Recorder David Mayall rejected Keem's case and sentenced him to 21 months detention.

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