Trio admit attacking journalist Owen Jones outside Islington pub

4 December 2019, 19:17 | Updated: 4 December 2019, 19:22

Owen Jones was attacked outside a north London pub in August
Owen Jones was attacked outside a north London pub in August. Picture: PA
Maddie Goodfellow

By Maddie Goodfellow

Three men have admitted attacking journalist Owen Jones, but denied the assault was motivated by homophobia.

Mr Jones had been drinking in the Lexington Pub on Pentonville Road in Islington, north London, whilst celebrating with friends in August.

An earlier hearing at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court was told Mr Jones was "karate kicked" in the back.

The left-wing journalist suffered cuts and swelling to his back and head as well as bruising all down his body as a result of the attack.

The activist, who is gay and campaigns for LGBT rights, said after the attack that he believed it was "clearly premeditated".

James Healy, 40, Charlie Ambrose, 30, and Liam Tracey, 34, appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Wednesday where they all admitted a charge of affray.

Healy admitted a second charge of actual bodily harm and will now face trail to determine if the attack was motivated by Mr Jones' sexuality, as his lawyers pledge.

Ambrose and Tracey both denied a charge of ABH.

The journalist was celebrating his birthday at The Lexington pub in Islington
The journalist was celebrating his birthday at The Lexington pub in Islington. Picture: Google

Prosecutor Philip McGhee said that if the attack was found to be motivated by homophobia "it would have a material impact" on sentence.

However, he also claimed: "It's not accepted by any of the defendants in this case that this was the motivation for their offending."

Speaking to the Guardian after the attack, Mr Jones said: "In the past year I've been repeatedly targeted in the street by far right activists, including attempts to use physical assault, and homophobic abuse.

"Given the context, it seems unthinkable that I was singled out for anything other than a politically motivated, premeditated attack."

Healy, of Portsmouth, Ambrose, of Brighton, and Tracey, of Camden, spoke only to confirm their names and enter their pleas.

All three men have been granted bail and warned they could face a prison sentence.

They will be sentenced on February 11.

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