London

London bus attack: Fifth arrest after gay couple who refused to kiss beaten

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Media caption'I was and still am angry at bus attack'

A boy aged 16 has been arrested over a homophobic attack which left two women covered in blood after refusing to kiss on a bus.

Melania Geymonat, 28, said the attack on her and partner Chris happened on the top deck of a London night bus.

A group of young men began harassing them when they discovered the women were a couple, asking them to kiss while making sexual gestures.

Four other males aged between 15 and 18 were also arrested, the Met said.

The five suspects were questioned on suspicion of robbery and aggravated grievous bodily harm.

They have been bailed to a date in July and detectives are not looking for anyone else, Scotland Yard said.

Speaking about the attack, which happened in the early hours of 30 May, Ms Geymonat told BBC Radio 4's World at One she had previously experienced "a lot of verbal violence".

But she said she had never before been physically attacked because of her sexuality.

Image copyright Sfd
Image caption Ms Geymonat says she has not been able to go back to work since the attack

Asked whether the attack left her less willing to show affection in public, Chris, who lives in north London but is originally from the US, said: "I am not scared about being visibly queer.

"If anything, you should do it more."

Ms Geymonat, who is a doctor but currently works for Ryanair as a stewardess, said she agreed.

Chris said: "I was and still am angry. It was scary, but this is not a novel situation."

Image copyright Melania Geymonat
Image caption Melania Geymonat (right) and her date Chris were assaulted and robbed on a route N31 bus in Camden

Over the five years to 2018, reported homophobic hate crimes across London have increased from 1,488 in 2014 to 2,308 in 2018, according to the Met Police's crime dashboard.

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