Pair jailed for stealing LGBT+ flag and spending victim's money on McDonald's at Cardiff Pride

Callum Lewis, 22, and Melanie Shaw (also known as Price), 28, stole from the victim in Cardiff city centre at roughly 3:30am on August 28 2022. Credit: Media Wales/South Wales Police

Robbers attacked a person attending Cardiff Pride, stealing an LGBTQ+ flag and their wallet, before spending their money in McDonald's.

Callum Lewis, 22, and Melanie Shaw (also known as Price), 28, stole from the victim in Cardiff city centre at roughly 3:30am on August 28 2022.

Newport Crown Court heard the victim, who had just left Heidi's bar on Mill Lane, was seen on CCTV talking to Lewis and a woman sat on a bench before Shaw later arrived and joined the group.

The victim, who was walking along St Mary Street wearing a rainbow-coloured flag around their shoulders, was then pushed to the floor by Shaw.

After Shaw took the flag, they were then pushed to the floor again as they tried to get it back.

They were then pushed to the floor for a third time and pulled along the floor, causing grazes and marks to their left elbow.

The court heard the victim offered to give the attackers their wallet to try to get them to leave them alone. Lewis asked for their pin number, which they gave out of fear.

The next thing the victim remembered was lying on the floor and trying to use their phone, which had run out of battery, before they saw a friend who helped them home.

They realised the next several transactions had been made using their card, mostly at McDonald's.

Lewis, of the Three Saints Hotel, Llantrisant, and Shaw, of Court Road, Kingswood, Gloucestershire, were subsequently arrested and later pleaded guilty to robbery. Lewis also pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation.

Talking to the court from the witness box, the victim said in a statement they "wouldn't leave the house" unaccompanied after dark immediately after the attack, and said their anxiety had been "heightened," leaving them suffering "panic attacks" and struggling to sleep.

They added: "I am thinking about things and what has happened to me and I'm constantly worrying. This incident made me feel so overwhelmed and I didn't know how to cope. I had a Pride flag with me and looking at it was a constant reminder and made me feel unsafe in my own room.

"I am also worried about friends, family, and my partner. I am worried something might happen to them similar to what happened to me."

Defending Lewis, barrister Emily Jermin said her client had an "extremely troubling upbringing," having been in care from a young age. The barrister said the defendant had been diagnosed with ADHD and struggled with drug related issues.

Shaw's barrister, Bethan Evans said her behaviour was caused by alcohol. She said Shaw had previously been a victim of domestic abuse, and was struggling with the news that her grandmother had been diagnosed with cancer. The court heard that the mother of two is pregnant.

Recorder John Philpotts said there was no suggestion the robbery was motivated by homophobia. He sentenced both Lewis and Shaw to 18 months imprisonment each.