Woman fined for homophobic hatecrime

North Somerset Courthouse.

North Somerset Courthouse. - Credit: Archant

A Weston woman was fined for a homophobic tirade in which she told female officers she ‘couldn’t deal with lesbians’ and ‘hoped their kids died of cancer’.

Prosecutor Michael Collins told North Somerset Courthouse how Samantha Marsh had approached two female police officers dealing with another incident on The Boulevard on September 21.

She had quickly become aggressive, demanding the officers arrest her, threatening to headbutt people and telling the officers she hoped their 'kids die of f***ing cancer'.

The 31-year-old, who suffers from a personality disorder and claimed to be autistic, then unleashed a homophobic tirade, stating: "I can't deal with lesbians." She continued: "We are brought into this world to be man and wife. My sister is a lesbian, and I tell her to f***ing sort it out.

"My nan would have been mortified."

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Marsh, of Bristol Road Lower, was originally charged with being drunk and disorderly.

However, the prosecution agreed to change this to a breach of public order after March pleaded guilty to the charges, as she said she wanted it dealt with. She insisted to the court she did not drink alcohol and that it made her sick.

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Joseph Wright, who stepped in to defend Marsh at the last minute, argued her outburst could be partly attributed to struggles in communicating with others due to her condition.

"She came to ask about the incident, and because the officers were occupied, she was given the short shift and is not given a reason for this kind of exchange.

"As a result of her condition, she saw this as confrontational and became frustrated.

"Someone would say the things she said were homophobic, but it was an attempt to say the most hurtful things that came to her mind.

"I can say from my dealing with her she is sorry, although she finds it difficult to see the impact of her actions on other people."

Sentencing, chair of the bench, Mike Evans, said the magistrates agreed with the prosecution's assertion that Marsh's remarks constituted a hate crime.

He said: "The fine was £40, but, due to the comments you made, the fine is now £80."

Marsh was also ordered to pay a £32 victim surcharge, and £85 costs at the hearing on Tuesday.

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