A Cambridge student has been filmed taunting a homeless man by burning a a £20 note in front of him.
The young toff was on the booze, prowling the streets of the ancient university city of Cambridge on the River Cam in eastern England, when he happened across a homeless man freezing in the cold of winter who was asking for a handout.
The 18-year-old member of the Cambridge University Conservative Association pulled out a £20 note from his pocket, then pulled it back, taunting the homeless man sheltered in a doorway by saying “Here’s some change I’ve turned it into flames.”
Cambridge News reports:
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The shocking footage shows the Pembroke College student dressed smartly in bow tie and tails using a cigarette lighter to burn the cash.
It is alleged the video, which has been shared on Snapchat, was filmed in the early hours of February 2.
During filming, the person recording the student’s actions turns to capture a homeless person in shot.
The students says “some homeless shelter” and the video ends.
The Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA) has named the student as Ronald Coyne, their communications officer, and said it has now expelled him from the group.
A spokesman for the CUCA said the behaviour was “disgusting and abhorrent”.
He added: “The CUCA committee became aware of serious allegations against Ronald Coyne late last week concerning his private behaviour.
“There is no room for people who behave like that in our association, any other university association, or frankly our university.
“This disgusting and abhorrent behaviour occurred completely independently of CUCA and did not take place before or after any CUCA event.”
CUCA alumni include ex-cabinet minister Ken Clarke MP, while ex-chief whip Andrew Mitchell MP and Lord Speaker Lord Fowler are both still honorary vice-presidents.
Its honorary president is prominent historian Andrew Roberts, author of Napoleon the Great.
Coyne is said to have been attending a parents’ formal at Pembroke College the night of the alleged incident.
George Clarke, founder of Embrace Cambridge, a charity that works with homeless people in Cambridge, said drunk students should not be abusing homeless people.
He added: “There is a disturbing precedent for intoxicated Cambridge students abusing rough sleepers in the city, but as well as calling out this disgraceful behaviour wherever we find it we can and should remember that there is a real heart for charity at this university too.”
The disgraced student is also alleged to have told students that he was related to Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon.
But a Scottish government spokesman said: “They are not really related, the connection is so distant it doesn’t even count as a relation.
“She has no recollection of ever meeting him.”
Homeless man Ryan Davies show his “disgust” after the incident:
The homeless man who was taunted by a Cambridge University student has spoken for the first time about his “disgust” at what happened.
Ryan Davies was in Bridge Street, Cambridge, when he asked Ronald Coyne for some spare change.
But the Pembroke College student teased the 31-year-old unemployed crane operator by handing out a £20 note then pulling it back.
The 18-year-old law student is seen on video dressed smartly in bow tie and tails using a cigarette lighter to burn the cash.
Mr Davies, who has been on the streets for three months, said: “There were some people going past and I was asking them for spare change. I’m homeless. I asked one man for spare change. I was polite about it as I always am.
“He says let’s see what I’ve got and pulls out a £20 note and went to pass it to me.
“I couldn’t believe my luck, know what I mean. But then he pulled it back and lit it, burnt it and he says ‘How’s that for change, I’ve changed it into flames’.
“It was absolutely disgusting. It was horrible. Just plain nasty. I suppose it’s better than getting punched and kicked or even spat on because that has happened before.”
Other rough sleepers have also told of their disgust.
Since the story broke a petition has been launched to “Remove Ronald Coyne from Cambridge University”.
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