News

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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122 Comments

Wankington Bear

Arrogant wanker.

(118)(9)

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!!!!!

(14)(2)

Coco the Killer Clown

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

Missing?

Consequences forthcoming!!!!

🤡🤡🤡🤣🤡🤡🤣🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣

(32)(2)

Anonymous

my thoughts exactly!!!

(2)(0)

Anonymous

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.

(1)(6)

Anonymous

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

(1)(0)

Lord Harley QC

He’s a close personal friend, you know!

(3)(3)

Wankington Bear

Wankington reaches his hundred 😊

(4)(1)

Anonymous

He’s destroyed his legal career. Good.

(52)(7)

Anonymous

Apology sounds entirely insincere

(49)(3)

Anonymous

surprise surprise!

(4)(0)

Anonymous

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.

(38)(4)

Anonymous

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

(30)(47)

Anonymous

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

(36)(7)

Anonymous

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.

(9)(2)

Trumpenkrieg

Yeah right.

(0)(1)

Interloper

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

(1)(1)

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

(2)(2)

Anonymous

baying*

(0)(0)

Interloper

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

(2)(1)

Anonymous

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 ?

(4)(2)

Anonymous

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.

(27)(11)

Anonymous

Get over it

(9)(13)

Anonymous

Hi Ron.

(7)(2)

Anonymous

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

(39)(4)

Anonymous

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

(2)(2)

Anonymous

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..

(3)(1)

Anonymous

He should consider a career with the DWP as a government lawyer.

They specialise in snatching money away from sick and disabled people while laughing and snarling.

(36)(10)

Anonymous

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.

(14)(7)

Anonymous

Hi, DWP lawyer.

(6)(3)

Anonymous

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

(8)(2)

Anonymous

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

(1)(3)

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.

(10)(2)

Anonymous

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

(14)(3)

Anonymous

Yeah, that’s why you’re here.

(5)(4)

Mao Zedong

Suck my Zedong you c*nt.

Anonymous

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.”

(3)(7)

Anonymous

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.

(3)(2)

Jason

Ronald lol

(7)(0)

🤡

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

Copyright 1966.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

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.

(19)(35)

Reginald Clowne

I disagree!

(4)(2)

Montague

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

(34)(2)

Lord Harley of Counsel

Yes!

(2)(0)

Anonymous

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

(21)(1)

Anonymous

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.

(63)(0)

Anonymous

Bang on.

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

(10)(1)

Anonymous

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

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Well articulated

(1)(0)

Anonymous

complete arseclown

(6)(0)

MC Trainee

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

(32)(7)

Small fish finder

Like you could offer him one?

(16)(1)

Anonymous

When posh banter goes wrong…

(9)(0)

Anonymous

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.

(11)(8)

Anonymous

*no path

(1)(0)

🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡

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.

(13)(1)

Anonymous

Sounds vaguely threatening. Who are you to show mercy?

(0)(4)

Mao Zedong

No melcy!

(2)(0)

Mancunian

No Mersey!

(1)(0)

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?

(2)(1)

Savage bastard

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

(5)(3)

Anonymous

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”.

(12)(3)

Anonymous

Oxford clown

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Shame on Cambridge for allowing him to stay. Says it all about their ethos, really.

(9)(5)

Anonymous

FFS. Light the torches! Grab the pitchforks!

He didn’t break the law. He just acted like a twat.

(19)(12)

Coco the Killer Clown

Grab the cheese-wire and the gelding equipment!

🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡

(10)(0)

Anonymous

Agreed. These sanctimonious ghouls only revel in his disgrace because he’s from a privileged background. They’d behave the same way if they saw him volunteering in a soup kitchen.

(5)(4)

Anonymous

Hi Ronnie.

(0)(0)

Coco the Killer Clown

🤡 🤡 🤡 🤡 🤡 🤡
🤡 🤡 🤡 🤡 🤡🤡
🤡 🤡 🤡 🤡 🤡

🤡🤡🤡
🤡
🤡

(2)(1)

Ronald Coyne

Look, I’ve said I’m sorry, OK?

What more do people want me to do?

(4)(22)

Tommy Connelly

Play my skin flute. Twice. Then bend over.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

Come on guys, it’s only ‘hand money’…it’s not even a £50! Could you imagine if he had chopped up a Coutts card?

(5)(1)

Mrs Coyne

I should have kept my knees together.

(11)(1)

Anonymous

He’s privileged.

Doesn’t he qualify for protection from abuse like other minorities?

(1)(4)

Anonymous

He has a very punchable face.

That letter clearly shows no actual remorse. All it does is reinforce that all he really cares about is reputation and status.

(13)(3)

Anonymous

Plenty more money has been burned on Liverpool title win bets the past 25 or so years.

(2)(0)

A Superior Brand of Clown

His arrogance and superiority is written all over his face in that picture.

I think his face would make a great mask.

Perhaps in the sense of Hannibal Lecter’s police-officer mask…?

(7)(1)

Anonymous

Seriously legalcheek, some of these comments are obvious threats of violence

(4)(4)

Anonymous

Hi Ronnie, don’t worry.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Daddy paid a generous donation did he?

(6)(1)

Anonymous

It’s because they do it in that shithouse film based on that shithouse club that Cams and Bozza belonged to in Oxford.

And guess what Coyne ? It ain’t funny and you’re a sad twat.

It would have been funny if Cambridge threw him out for this. Might have made a point about such behaviour being unacceptable. Since they didn’t, one can infer that it is ipso facto acceptable in their eyes. So they’re also twats.

(4)(2)

Corbyn. Symphathiser

I suppose he’ll have a future in Activate.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

A total non-apology, rammed home by the “poor me” horseshit in the last paragraph.
Fuck off. Really, just fuck off.

(5)(2)

Anonymous

Nowhere in that PR-written letter is there an apology for his actions. There is not even a mention of the gentleman he humiliated. There are only apologies for causing a bit of an upset to the university.

“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.”

It wasn’t a mistake. It was a choice.
If he didn’t have the brain cells to be “aware” that humiliating a homeless man in this way was vile behaviour, he surely doesn’t have the brain cells to be at Pembroke.

Pembroke should have kicked him out.

(12)(2)

Sir Ponsonby Smythe-Smallpiece

I cannot recommend Cambridge University’s Social Inclusion Classes enough.

Before I went to them, I always assumed that the homeless peasant was secretly laughing along at the joke, and was therefore in on the banter.

I had no idea that in fact it was deeply distressing and humiliating to the tramp concerned.

It isn’t Mr Coyne’s fault that he didn’t grow up on a council estate.

(13)(0)

Coco the Killer Clown

Hurry home, Ronnie!

The clock is ticking!

It’s almost time!

🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤣🤣🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡💡😁💡😁💡💡😁🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣😁🤣🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤡🤣🤣🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡😁😁

(4)(3)

Anonymous

His apology summarized: I’m sorry to the university. I’m sorry to fellow students. People have been really mean to me.
Also, is it just me, or does he have one of the world’s most punchable faces?

(11)(0)

Anonymous

I think I would never tire of jumping on his head.

(5)(0)

Regretful DWF Trainee

Give the guy a break, we’ve all done worse. I accepted a TC from DWF so we all know whose position we would prefer to be in.

(2)(2)

Wankington Bear

Another grade A wanker.

(5)(0)

BBC News

NEWS JUST IN:

Ronnie’ testicles have just been found next to a blood-stained clown mask and a rusty bread-knife outside Pembroke College.

(3)(1)

Wankington Bear

No more wanking for Ronnie.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Testicles? You give this shitbag too much credit.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

They were exceptionally small…

(2)(0)

Anonymous

It seems someone can no longer make restitution in any way that will satisfy everyone, if they ever could. Maybe if you were less unhappy with your own lives you wouldn’t care so much than a young man made a foul error of judgement. Maybe you’d pick up on the harassment he’s received as being disgusting in itself.

(3)(7)

Anonymous

Eh? Maybe if you were less unhappy with your own life you wouldn’t care so much that people do not accept the disgusting behaviour of this idiot and his artificial apology to those whose cooperation he requires to further his own career, and his total absence of apology to the gentleman who he humiliated.

See? The Daily Mail”if you were less unhappy with your own life” mantra could just go on and on and on..

(3)(3)

Alexandr

I’m perfectly happy with my life.

I’m not perfectly happy with this sort of utterly foul behaviour from a privileged nut job.

Simples!

(5)(0)

Anonymous

So what more do you want from him?

(1)(2)

Anonymous

An actual apology to the homeless man concerned would be a good start, Ronnie.

(7)(0)

Sir Geffroy De Joinville

Hear Hear Sir Ponsonby , the ungrateful serf should have been delighted with the warmth provided by the burning £20 note.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

The man has apologised. He’ll likely have difficulty with applications post-university.

So now, you can all get over it. Don’t pretend this is about anything other than prejudice against wealth and privilege.

(3)(12)

Anonymous

Show us where he has apologised to the gentleman he humiliated and taunted. Not the grovelling to the people he needs for his studies and career, but the actual apology to the homeless gentleman.

(10)(0)

Cambridge Insider

A person in a clown mask turned up last night and approached Ronnie Coyne.

He freaked out and shat his pants.

(7)(1)

Proelia

False contrition. He is devoid of empathy which is exhibited by his behaviour to begin with and the failure to show genuine remorse and to apologise to the homeless man. All he has done is engage in a pity play through the content of that letter which is a device to manage the facade. He has no insight at all into his behaviour as he is a clear narcissist. He just has sufficient cognitive function to create an appearance of remorse, but really, there is none.
Expect similar behaviour in the future but it will always be somebody or something else’s fault, never his.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Could you not fit any more pyscho-bollocks into that meaningless comment?

(0)(3)

Ronald "Sackcloth and Ashes" Coyne

I would like to extend an invitation to all persons whose fathers earn in excess of £100K per annum to my pity party, this evening at Pembroke College, 9pm til late.

Dress code: no clown outfits.

(7)(0)

Uncle Brother

Most homeless people end up so as a result of addiction. The only way to get addicted is to be born rich, with substantial disposable income and no job. Indeed, many inheritors purposely make themselves disabled through their addiction so as to take advantage of a lower tax rate on their trust fund.

Many people from working class backgrounds work hard at school to get into a top university, seeing that as their best root out of poverty.

It is likely that this over-privileged addict taunted and even physically assaulted (this is common behaviour among addicts)the hard working student on a daily basis, until the latter snapped. I would hope the homeless addict is investigated fully, and possibly prosecuted the relevant public order, hate crime, and sexual offence legislation

(2)(6)

Wankington Bear

You are a complete and utter wanker.

(2)(3)

Interloper

Wankington, in fairness I think that was satire there from Uncle Brother and quite well done to be fair 🙂

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Victory for common sense

(0)(1)

Old Pembrokian

I have been following this saga with interest.

I attended Pembroke College in the 1970s, and I can tell you that nothing like this would have happened then.

The wealthy students would occasionally try to outdo each other by making ridiculously large donations to homeless people in an effort to show off.

I fear that the cruel money-burning ritual must have been a product of the excesses of the 1980s and later.

I had considered making a six-figure donation to my old college upon retirement from a successful career, but seeing how they have decided not to rusticate this unfortunate specimen, thereby minimising his behaviour, I shall not be doing so.

(4)(2)

Anonymous

(1)(1)

Uncle Brother

Nonsense, the 80s were characterised by a healthy money motivation that would have scoffed at wasting a perfectly good £20 on an outcome (putting a violent addict in his place) that could have been achieved without any investment at all!

(1)(0)

Anonymous

If you were really an alumnus of Pembroke, you’d know the demonym is Valencian, not Pembrokian

(1)(0)

charlottan

everyone makes silly mistakes …. in this case he thought his alcohol and peer – fuelled, and politically – inspired obnoxiousness was funny when its not….. “rustication” (such an old fashioned term, quaint) would be breaking a nut with sledgehammer…. this is like a storm in a tea cup….. it only matters to those (irrelevant) people who love to bash a Oxbridge sort (an impulse which comes from a place of insecurity)

do hope that Ronald coyne has done some soul – searching and learned a contradictory lesson in appropriate behaviour and how big and blown out of proportion some actions can become with the help of the media (social and otherwise)….

(0)(0)

Docs Ludvig Friedrich Von Lowenstein, Heinrich Litevsky, nurses Latvka Dablitz, Simka Oblenski and all the staff at the World (mental) Health Organisation.

Aha. We have another psychiatrist. Welkommen Proellia.
There is enough material here for an entire convention.
And we use the old fashioned term psychopath.

(0)(0)

Know it all

Wilkommen !! (Welkom = Dutch)

∴ Welkommen = nonsense

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Hey Ronnie! From one Cantab to another – you’re a piece of shit.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

If he gave the homeless guy the twenty quid he probably would have been kicked out of Cambridge.

(0)(0)

Cantab

I look forward to spitting in his face in the Squire.

(1)(0)

Arthur J. Halbaschwartz

I have been around long enough to recognize the first flares of psychopathy and his letter devoid of empathy for the victim substantiates this.Unchecked by the university, Ladbrokes may want to open a book on when his name next appears in a negative light, perhaps with a distressed wife,defeated neighbor or his humiliated boyfriend.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Cheers for that.

Tomorrow’s fish & chip paper and all that.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.