Yob caged for anti-gay rant

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A TEENAGER who hurled homophobic abuse at rail passengers on a Wigan train has been jailed.

Ishmail Iqba was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison for the verbal onslaught against two victims having been found guilty of a public order offence at an earlier hearing.

Blackpool magistrates heard the 19-year-old travelled with a group of friends on a Northern Rail service from Wigan to Blackpool North on August 3.

As the train left Leyland station Iqbal and his friends were heard by another passenger using homophobic language. The man, who was offended by the conversation, asked the group to tone down their language.

At this point Iqbal, of Lythalls Lane, Coventry, became aggressive, directed his homophobic comments at the passenger and threatened him with a bottle.

PC Chris Haughton, of British Transport Police, said: “Despite being told that there was CCTV on-board the train, Iqbal continued his homophobic and threatening behaviour, telling the passenger and his friend, who confirmed they were gay during the confrontation, that they were worse than animals and that ‘2000 years ago you would have been killed’.

“The two victims left the carriage and reported the incident to BTP. The train was met at Blackpool North and Iqbal was arrested.”

PC Haughton added: “Rail passengers and staff have the right to travel and work in a safe environment, free from threatening or abusive behaviour.

“Iqbal’s behaviour during this journey was completely deplorable and has no place either on the railway or in society in general.

“British Transport Police takes any form of abusive behaviour extremely seriously and, as this case has shown, will take prompt action against offenders.

“The sentence handed down by the court clearly also demonstrates that the wider legal system views such behaviour in an equally dim light.”