Cambridge law student who burned £20 note in front of homeless man KEEPS university place

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Ronald Coyne reveals he’s been threatened with chemical attacks in apology letter to peers

A University of Cambridge law student who sparked outrage after attempting to burn a £20 note in front of a homeless man will not be expelled.

The prestigious university came under pressure to remove Ronald Coyne after Snapchat footage of him goading a homeless man while dressed in white tie went viral in February (screenshots below).

But Coyne has kept his place at Cambridge’s Pembroke College after penning an apology letter (in full below), admitting he had abused his “privilege”.

Circulated by email to his college peers, Coyne — who was a fresher at the time and claims to have received threats of “violence” and “chemical attacks” following the incident — continued:

I made a terrible mistake, and I quite rightly faced disciplinary action for it. I have addressed the root causes of my behaviour by attending awareness classes, relating to both alcohol and social inclusion.

The decision comes despite a petition calling for Coyne’s removal, which garnered over 23,000 signatures.

A spokesperson for Pembroke College told Legal Cheek: “Disciplinary action has been taken, but of course the college cannot comment on the outcome of individual disciplinary cases. However, we recognise that this incident has resulted in understandable concern.”

Stressing that the college places “great value” on how it treats others, the spokesperson continued:

Following the incident, Pembroke students raised more than £1,000 by for the local rough-sleeper community, and across Cambridge there has been a significant rise in student volunteering with rough-sleeper charities locally.

The note burning, which we discussed at length during a live Facebook stream, divided readers’ opinions at the time.

One suggested that Coyne — who was promptly dismissed from the Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA) — was just a “young guy who did a silly thing”, while another reader commented: “his actions are those of a sociopath.” Another, perhaps rightly, said: “bye bye training contract.”

Read Ronald Coyne’s letter in full:

Dear all,

As you may recall, earlier this year it was widely reported in the media that I attempted to set alight to a £20 note on Bridge Street in Cambridge. Until now, there had been an ongoing disciplinary process on a University and college level which had meant I couldn’t respond publicly. Now that these processes have concluded, I am setting out to try to remedy some of the hurt caused by my actions. As one of those steps, I want to take the opportunity to apologise.

My actions were wrong and without thought or consideration. I abused my privilege as a student at such a great university, and behaved in a way which is totally contrary to the values of the university and of its students. I acknowledge that my behaviour put the entire university in a negative light, and for that I am sorry. For the effect that my behaviour had on you as a community, I am also sorry.

I am extremely fortunate to have a place at Cambridge. My experience of Cambridge was of a place which is positive, accepting, and friendly. Yet on that evening, I forgot what it really meant to study at Cambridge. I misrepresented what it meant to be a student here. The gift of a great education should be a tool to enrich society, not an excuse to debase it. I made a terrible mistake, and I quite rightly faced disciplinary action for it. I have addressed the root causes of my behaviour by attending awareness classes, relating to both alcohol and social inclusion.

I am truly sorry for the upset I have caused my fellow students. I cannot begin to express my heartfelt remorse for the guilt by association you all faced, on many levels. When the media commentary flared up, strangers sent piles of abusive mail to my family home threatening me with violence, and chemical attacks. I received some sympathetic letters and emails from people who thought that the online abuse went too far. To those people, I am still grateful. I would like to end by repeating my deep regret at the offence and hurt caused by my actions, and asking for a second chance.

Ronald Coyne.

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Wankington Bear

Arrogant wanker.


Coco the Killer Clown

The Clowns are coming for you tonight, wee Master Coyne!

The University wouldn’t do the right thing because you’re one of them and wrote a sweet little letter.

Better pack your extra thick pampers!!!!!


Coco the Killer Clown

Where’s the boy about apologising to the homeless man?


Consequences forthcoming!!!!




my thoughts exactly!!!



Who are you to prescribe consequences for this man?

The beggar shouldn’t have been begging. He was committing an offence under the Vagrancy Act.



He wasn’t begging; he was sleeping on the streets. Or attempting to, until this thug came along.

Lord Harley QC

He’s a close personal friend, you know!


Wankington Bear

Wankington reaches his hundred 😊



He’s destroyed his legal career. Good.



Apology sounds entirely insincere



surprise surprise!



He”s only apologised to save his own skin. I hope he never sets foot in a law firm unless he’s in need of their services.

Foul human being.



He’s been through enough and we all make stupid mistakes.It’s time to let him move on with his life.



Really? Burning £20 in front of a homeless person is a “stupid mistake”?



Why did the Tories expel him? This is exactly what you would expect of BoJo et all at Uni. Future Party Leader?? Interesting that he didn’t cross the road to taunt the homeless guy. Coward. If it was me he did it to, I would have crossed the road and taught him a lesson he would have remembered for a very long time.



Yeah right.



Oh do shut up ! You massively tedious cuck cock….

Sughers III

A very, very stupid one. But I don’t suppose any of the people slating him on this page have ever made a similarly big mistake, in any aspect of their lives. I’m sure they too would wish for forgiveness and a second chance, however, had they ever made such a mistake… Ask the homeless guy whether he forgives him, I suspect you might be surprised at his answer. No doubt, some of the people braying for this young man’s blood are consciously or otherwise envious of him, which may colour their response to his unfortunate indiscretion.

Yours faithfully,

Ronaldo Coin






Wasn’t a mistake thought was it ! Was in actuality an action he subsequently regretted, made whilst he was pissed (and therefore less inhibited). Probably had a right old larf (braying guffaw ?) about it at the time..

Speaks massive volumes for the sort of person he is. I don’t think what he did was in any way defensible and the manner of his apology is equally nausea-inducing. I would suggest he tries sleeping on the streets to get a taste of what life is like for people that have no other choice but there’s probably little point as his cosseted upbringing will have arrested any nascent instinct for empathy at an early stage of his “development”…ffa



what would you call it then ? an action that should ruin his academic career, ruin everything he has worked for, diminish his intellect and professional capacity because he is a mean twat ? honestly people, you should calm the fuck down a bit, no one is arguing him being as absolute idiot and a mean person by doing this… but are you better? the ones, who are threatening him with so called consequences ? are YOU a better person, a kinder one ? nope.

and after all, let’s all think about the fucked up and mean things we’ve done in our lives when drunk/young/stupid, yeah ? i bet you’d get the same threats if that was put on the internet.

or am i wrong ?



People like that shouldn’t be forgiven – he clearly has a fundamental behavioural problem and he obviously looks down on others. The cunt should be stripped of his privileges.



Get over it



Hi Ron.



This giraffe might as well find a zoo because he is never going to get a training contract/pupillage.



Forgive my ignorance but couldn’t he just change his name?



More likely it will all be forgotten by the time he graduates and he can proceed to get the positive reinforcement/normalisation for such behaviour with a TC, along with likeminded “young bucks”, at some arishole MC outfit like Anal & Ovaries..



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



Anonymous, you would never make it through even the first stage of the Government Legal Service recruitment programme. DWP lawyers are civil servants who advise Ministers and draft legislation on the instructions they receive. If you dislike the outcome, vote for a different party, don’t shoot the messenger.



Hi, DWP lawyer.



Most peope on here would never make it past any TC process with their extremely warped views on the profession and unrealistic snobery and arrogance



Yeah, pesky snobs turning their noses up at lawyers who do everything they can to strip vulnerable people of state assistance.


Former government lawyer

Actually, they don’t, that’s the politicians’ job. if you think a government lawyer or civil servant can refuse to take instructions to do something , because of a moral objection to a Government policy, you are naïve. They are bound by the ethical code which applies to all civil servants, and lawyers by the Code of Ethics adopted by their regulator. Anything beyond this is a matter of conscience. I guess if a lawyer feels strongly enough about an issue in which he or she receives instructions, they can always choose to resign. Then again, they probably wouldn’t have become a government lawyer in the first place if they take this course.
At present there are some 2000+ UK government lawyers providing advice, drafting legislation and providing litigation services to Whitehall. They come from across the political spectrum and they do their jobs by putting personal opinions aside, acting impartially and to the best of their professional ability. They can no more refuse to act on proper instructions than can a lawyer in private practice who disagrees with his client’s values and ethics.


Don’t bother explaining things on this website mate, it’s chock-full of two-bit pinheads suffering from delusions of grandeur.


Yeah, that’s why you’re here.

Mao Zedong

Suck my Zedong you c*nt.


Except they don’t act impartially, but like vicious Tories. Endless spurious speculative appeals and contemptuous language towards vulnerable and disabled people.

“I was only following orders.”


I don’t think he was commenting on the difficulty of getting or performing a DWP job, more that callousness is a positive attribute for it.



Ronald lol



🎼He’s Ronald McDonald… the hamburger-happy clown… the McDonald’s drive-in restaurant is his favourite place in town🎶

Copyright 1966.



He’s suffered enough and done his time. He will have learned a valuable life lesson. Let him get on with his life. He’s unlikely ever to practice law in any form.


Reginald Clowne

I disagree!



Do awareness classes prevent you from continuing to be a cunt?


Lord Harley of Counsel




No apology or remorse for the person he sought to offend though….



His letter only expresses remorse at how his actions have damaged the spirit of the university and the impact it has had on his fellow students. He does not express genuine remorse for his actions towards the homeless guy. He isn’t sorry for what he did, he is only sorry he got caught.



Bang on.

He’s a foul, self-indulgent, pathetic child.



Correct. He doesn’t even seem to understand what he is apologising for.



Well articulated



complete arseclown


MC Trainee

I am goint to wait outside his graduation one day and burn a Training Contract in front of his face….muahahaha


Small fish finder

Like you could offer him one?



When posh banter goes wrong…



Boozed up, undoubtedly encouraged, peer pressure, trying to fit in. Hopefully he learns from it and gives something back.

Eternal condemnation is path to pursue my fellow cheekers.



*no path



Mercy comes to those who repent.

He still hasn’t acknowledged that what he did was cruel to the disabled man.

He’s only sorry for bringing his university into disrepute.

No contrition = no mercy.



Sounds vaguely threatening. Who are you to show mercy?


Mao Zedong

No melcy!


No Mersey!

Sir Geffroy De Joinville

His troth is lost and he should do the decent thing.
Sous le code de la chevalerie, il doit indemniser sa victime.
Did he pay the homeless person a hovel and a years sack of porridge?


Savage bastard

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



It is fantastic that his apology is only for attempting to set alight a £20 note on Bridge Street. If he had put that limited apology before me I would have dismissed him.
He is fortunate that Cambridge ‘s standards are so low. Given the importance of Cambridge University to the social fabric, their low threshold is our loss.
I wonder how long he pondered over his incomplete factual admission in his opening paragraph thinking “I can probably get away with saying that and no more”.



Oxford clown


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