A TEENAGE girl behind a homophobic hate campaign has been punished for making two women's lives a misery.

Lydia Jayne Lake, 18, waged a war of harassment and homophobia against gay couple Carol Cashmore and Nina Meffen.

The catalogue of abuse took place last year, starting with a vicious attack in July when a 20-year-old man and two teenage girls armed themselves with wooden chair legs and rained blows on the two women until they were barely conscious.

Lake, of John Street, Southampton, has already been given a community punishment order for her role in that attack.

She has now been sentenced to a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, for further harassment and abuse against the couple.

Lake, along with a 15-year-old girl who cannot be identified for legal reasons, denied charges of harassment relating to eight incidents but magistrates found them guilty following a trial.

Lake, who was a neighbour of Miss Cashmore and Miss Meffen in Emer Close until recently, was involved in two of the incidents and the other defendant in all eight.

Chairman of the bench Keith Dawe told Lake: "These offences are totally unacceptable. You are not a stupid person. You have some intelligence and it's about time you grew up."

A sobbing Lake was also given a restraining order to prevent her having any contact with the victims and was ordered to pay £650 court costs and £50 compensation to both women. She must also complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

The 15-year-old was sentenced to a restraining and referral order at Southampton Youth Court.

For the full story see today's Southern Daily Echo.