A woman who conducted a homophobic attack on a family man travelling back from Brighton Pride has been jailed in a young offender’s institute.
JASMINE Shepherd, 20, appeared at Hove Crown Court for sentencing on Tuesday, May 7 following her earlier guilty plea.
Shepherd of Hayley Road, Lancing targeted the victim, Owen Syred, as he left Lancing railway station on his return from Brighton Pride on the afternoon of Saturday, August 4, 2018.
She hurled a torrent of homophobic verbal abuse at Mr Syred then along with her mother and two children followed him into a nearby supermarket in South Street, Lansing before picking up a bottle of wine and throwing it at the back of his head causing a serious head injury and partial loss of hearing in one of his ears.
With the help of eye witnesses to both the assault and verbal abuse, she was quickly identified.
Shepherd who had a previous history of violence, pleaded guilty to the charge of grievous bodily harm with intent and was sentenced to eight years and six months in a young offenders’ institute.
Mr Syred told Gscene magazine he was particularly concerned about how hard he had to push Sussex Police to record the incident as a hate crime.
“The police kept asking me if I was gay. I told them it makes no difference if I am gay or not, I was attacked because I was coming back from Pride with Pride stickers on my clothes and Shepherd assumed I was gay. That is an offence, my sexuality is not the issue.”
Investigating Officer Robert Rollins of Worthing Investigation Team said: “Shepherd took an immediate dislike to the victim and the verbal abuse she shouted was abhorrent.
“The attack, understandably, caused the victim a huge amount of stress, pain and worry and I hope this sentencing provides closure for him.
“Shepherd’s previous bad character and the homophobic aspect of the assault allowed the judge to provide a higher sentence.
“We hope this statement will be a stark warning to everyone that this behaviour is wholly unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Shepherd was sent to a young persons offenders’ institute rather than jail because she had become pregnant since the incident.