Student Allegedly Burned Cash Near Homeless Man

'Abhorrent and repugnant,' says Cambridge University group
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2017 8:27 AM CST
Student Allegedly Burned Cash Near Homeless Man
"Abhorrent and repugnant."   (Getty Images/Konstanttin)

He wore a white tie and tails, but the actions he's accused of exhibit zero class. The Telegraph reports that Cambridge University student Ronald Coyne, the communications officer of the Cambridge University Conservative Association, was allegedly intoxicated and filmed in formalwear burning a 20-pound note (equal to about $25) in front of a homeless person. The video, said by the Mirror to have been shot on the freezing-cold night of Feb. 2 and circulated on Snapchat, shows the person alleged to be Coyne having a hard time lighting the money on fire, then simply saying, "Some homeless shelter" before the camera moves to focus on the homeless man. Coyne was immediately asked to resign from the CUCA after the political society got wind of his alleged behavior, which a spokesman calls "abhorrent and repugnant."

Coyne apparently didn't get gussied up to look good on camera: A CUCA exec tells the Cambridge student newspaper Varsity Coyne had attended a parents' formal earlier in the evening. A source tells the Telegraph that Coyne has claimed he's related to Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, though a Scottish government rep says Coyne "is not a direct relative of the First Minister or her husband." Coyne's puzzled mother tells the Telegraph her son had volunteered for a couple of years at an Edinburgh homeless shelter. The founder of a local charity that helps the homeless tells the Tab, which has screenshots from the video, that there's been a "disturbing precedent" of drunk Cambridge students harassing "rough sleepers" in the past, though he says such incidents aren't common. (A man leased California land for the homeless to use.)

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