Callous attackers stole Cardiff Pride-goer’s rainbow flag and wallet – then bought McDonalds

Image shows the two attackers in mugshot format, the young man has a beard while the woman has long dark hair

Two people have been sentenced to 18 months in prison after they attacked a Cardiff Pride (Pride Cymru) attendee, snatching their LGBTQ+ flag and also their wallet, ITV reports.

Callum Lewis, 22, and Melanie Shaw, 28, then used the victim’s card to splurge on McDonald’s food in the Welsh capital. The attack took place in Cardiff city centre at roughly 3:30am on August 28 2022.

The person they targeted had just left Heidi’s Bier Bar, an alpine-themed beer hall, when they were accosted by Lewis and Shaw. The victim, who was wearing a rainbow Pride flag around their shoulders, was seen on CCTV talking to Callum Lewis. Melanie Shaw arrived later, Newport Crown Court were told.

Cardiff, Wales, UK, August 24th 2019. The head of the Welsh parade passes Cardiff Castle during the Pride Cymru parade as part of a weekend of celebrations on the 20th anniversary of the event. (Photo credit should read Mark Hawkins/Composed Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
An LGBTQ+ Pride parade in Cardiff, Wales. (Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

They were pushed to the ground by Shaw, who also took their rainbow flag. When they tried to get up, they were pushed down again, then a third time, while also being pulled along the floor, causing grazes and marks to their left elbow.

The victim offered their wallet to the assailants in an attempt to get them to leave, and the court heard how Lewis then demanded their PIN, which the victim gave “out of fear”. They realised the next several transactions had been made using their card, mostly at McDonald’s.

Callum Lewis’s barrister explained that her client had an “extremely troubling upbringing,” having been in care from a young age. The barrister also said the defendant had been diagnosed with ADHD.

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Melanie Shaw’s barrister said that her client’s violent behaviour was caused by alcohol, and added that Shaw had previously been a victim of domestic abuse, and her grandmother had recently been diagnosed with cancer. The court also heard that Shaw, a mother of two, is pregnant.

The victim explained how the ordeal had left their sense of safety shattered, and their anxiety skyrocketing – and even the sight of the Pride flag in their own room was upsetting to them after the incident.

Talking to the court from the witness box, the victim read an impact statement that explained they “wouldn’t leave the house” unaccompanied after dark immediately after the attack, and said their anxiety had been “heightened,” leaving them suffering “panic attacks” and struggling to sleep.

They told the court that: “I am thinking about things and what has happened to me and I’m constantly worrying. This incident made me feel so overwhelmed and I didn’t know how to cope. I had a Pride flag with me and looking at it was a constant reminder and made me feel unsafe in my own room.

“I am also worried about friends, family, and my partner. I am worried something might happen to them similar to what happened to me.”

Recorder John Philpotts said there was no suggestion the robbery was motivated by homophobia while sentencing Lewis and Shaw to 18 months imprisonment each.

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