Liverpool Crown Court, UK. (Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Three sisters who screamed homophobic insults at a man while swinging a hammer at him have all walked free from a Liverpool court.
Children playing in the street in Birkenhead, Liverpool, witnessed Leanne, Louise and Samantha Whelan shouting abuse at Peter Taylor on August 11, 2018.
Leanne Whelan, 32 – who was pregnant at the time – swung a hammer at Taylor as he tried to stop the three women confronting two extended family members.
After missing his upper body with the hammer, Leanne and her sisters Louise, 29, and Samantha, 33, then yelled “queer” and “fa***t” at Taylor, according to the Liverpool Echo.
The three sisters, who all have children, walked free from Liverpool Crown Court on July 30 after the judge said it was in the best interests of their children for them not to serve prison sentences.
Leanne, who has children aged seven months, three and 13, received a nine-month jail sentence suspended for 15 months.
Louise and Samantha both received nine-week sentences, also suspended for 15 months.
Judge Gary Woodhall said that prison time would cause “significant harm” to their children.
The judge allowed that the sisters’ emotions “got out of control” and that Taylor was subjected to “homophobic abuse.”
Taylor said he was left feeling depressed and anxious by the attack, struggling to sleep and “looking over his shoulder all the time.”
The sisters were involved in a family feud
Prosecutors said there was a long-running family dispute between the sisters and the paternal grandmother of Samantha’s children over a dog.
Taylor, a friend of grandmother Deborah McKenna, was outside McKenna’s house when the three sisters drove past. They then stopped the car and got out, demanding McKenna come out of her house.
According to prosecutor Paul Becker, Taylor told the sisters to calm down.
Becker said: “Leanne Whelan was seen to be bouncing towards Mr Taylor, threatening and generally acting aggressively. Mr Taylor was shocked and scared.”
He said they also made threats to another person present, screaming “you’re getting this over your head.”
The Whelan sisters initially said Taylor was lying and claimed to have alibis for the time of the incident, but later admitted threatening behaviour ahead of the trial.