Man convicted for homophobic attack on gay teenagers

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A 19-year-old man was found guilty yesterday of a homophobic attack on two gay teenagers.

Michael Lee Hannan shouted that he hated gays before punching and headbutting the pair, aged 17 and 18, Blackburn magistrates’ court heard.

The Lancashire Telegraph reports he was given a six month suspended sentence and was ordered to pay £200 compensation to the teenagers, along with £85 costs.

The court heard he and his friends had approached a group of people, including the 18-year-old, in Blackburn town centre on the night of the assault and asked them for a cigarette.

A woman in the group gave him one but Hannan became abusive.

The group walked away to a nearby bus stop where they were joined by the 17-year-old but Hannan followed them, making homophobic comments.

Prosecutors said Hannan then punched the 17-year-old several times in the head without any warning and then turned to the 18-year-old to punch and headbutt him.

Hannan pleaded guilty to the attack.

In mitigation, his lawyer said he had been suffering from psychosis which was now being controlled by medication.

He added that Hannan was making progress with his prejudices through help from the Probation Service after a previous racially-aggravated assault.