Queer Teenager's Homophobic Attacker Receives Jail Sentence

Paul Austin received an 18-week sentence for attacking Kydis Zellinger on a public bus.

A bruised Kydis Zellinger whose homophobic attacker was jailed

Paul Austin, the homophobic attacker who left 18 year-old Kydis Zellinger battered and bruised, has been handed an 18-week prison sentence. 27 year-old Austin pled guilty to assaulting Zellinger in an unprovoked attack which has been classified as a homophobic hate crime.

During the trial, Zellinger gave a victim impact statement: “I can’t understand why any human being could attack another in this way. I was scared for my life as he was towering over me in such a threatening manner and in such a rage. I don’t understand what I’d done to upset him—the only thing I can think of is he has a problem with my sexuality.

Zellinger continued: “Since this incident I have been left feeling emotionally drained and vulnerable. I have trouble sleeping as I have nightmares reliving the incident. I’m now frightened to go out as I’m frightened of strangers and that I may be attacked. I want this male to face up to what he’s done and realise his actions are not acceptable, to hurt people in this way just for being different.”

The original incident took place when Zellinger boarded a late night bus with a friend and asked the driver if it went in their direction. His homophobic attacker shouted that Zellinger was holding up the queue even though people were still boarding. As the friends sat upstairs, Austin came along shouting homophobic slurs before punching Zellinger in the face.

Zellinger was injured but thought the attack was over as Austin and a female companion made their way to the back of the bus. A few minutes later, however, the slurs began again before Austin made his way back down to the friends and gave Zellinger a more serious beating. Austin’s female companion pulled him away and both left the bus. None of the other passengers intervened or offered help. 

In a social media post, Zellinger thanked people for their support: “I just want to say that I am truly and beyond thankful to every single person… you’re all incredible and there are no words to describe how much I appreciate it.”

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