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Croydon antisocial behaviour mediator abused lesbian couple in school playground

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AN ANTISOCIAL behaviour mediator abused a lesbian couple and stuck her finger up one of their friends' noses during a heated row in a school playground.

Diana Marquis, 51, of Songhurst Close, Croydon, who works with the Wandle Housing Association, must now attend diversity awareness classes as a result of the outburst at West Thornton Primary Academy.

It also involved her telling a teaching assistant: "I will kill everyone. I will go to prison for my children. I will protect my children."

She was made the subject of a 12-month community order and must do 200 hours' community service and pay each assault victim £100 compensation.

The court was told that the outburst came during a row over Marquis's children and the other women's respective children.

Mother-of-three Marquis denied assaulting Isobel Hodson, who is in a civil partnership with Stephanie Richards, and assaulting another parent, Debbie Cooplestone, who became involved in the row on June 20 last year, but was found guilty on both counts.

She was also convicted of three counts of threatening behaviour towards the couple and headmistress Jo Simmonds on the same occasion – and harassing the couple between June 13 and June 20 at the school by abusing them with homophobic language.

Up to 25 children aged between 5 and 11, many in tears, witnessed the row, which also included Marquis shouting at the head in the reception area: "I'm gonna take that smile off your face."

Prosecutor Eka Kalunta-Ike told Croydon Magistrates' Court on Thursday: "Ms Richards has described four incidents where she has been verbally abused by the defendant, who has used homophobic language in the hearing of other children, including hers.

"Another parent, Debbie Cooplestone, challenged her about her behaviour and was assaulted. The assault involved the defendant sticking her right index finger in her [victim's] right nostril, causing her discomfort."

The parties left, but almost immediately returned at the school's request for clear-the-air talks, which quickly went downhill.

"Marquis shouted and swore at the couple and spat at Ms Hodson's face.

"Ms Richards admits she attempted to punch the defendant, but she ducked out of the way."

Marquis was unhappy about the way the school handled a fight between her son and the same-sex couple's daughter.

Croydon antisocial behaviour mediator abused lesbian couple in school playground


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