AS Ruby Thomas was jailed for the manslaughter of Ian Baynham yesterday, the emerging details of her background painted a much bleaker picture of her childhood than her title of former public schoolgirl would suggest.

Photographs of the 19-year-old show a confident young woman, but behind this front is a girl who was driven to alcoholism after a family life riddled with violence.

News Shopper: BECKENHAM: The Bleak childhood of Ian Baynham killer Ruby Thomas

During the sentencing at the Old Bailey, Thomas’ lawyer Christopher Sallon QC read out a letter to the court from her mother which described an abusive father who had wreaked havoc on their lives. When Thomas was aged 11 her father was arrested for murder and then convicted of manslaughter at the Old Bailey.

In 2006, after being released from prison, her father was arrested again for threatening to kill someone, and was then locked up in a mental hospital.

Mr Sallon told the court Thomas would go to see her father while he was incarcerated and would be left in tears by the visits.

This troubled personal life meant Thomas failed to get the most out of attending the £12,000-a-year Sydenham High School for Girls, which her legal secretary mother had saved to pay for.

She turned to a life of heavy drinking, and Mr Sallon told the court she was on an Alcoholics Anonymous programme during the trial.

Thomas looked close to tears as she sat in the dock listening to the details of her childhood, the words of Mr Sallon obviously bringing back painful memories.

News Shopper: BECKENHAM: The Bleak childhood of Ian Baynham killer Ruby Thomas

Of course, none of this makes up for what she did to 62-year-old Ian Baynham in Trafalgar Square, but it does show Thomas is more than just a former public schoolgirl with a vicious, homophobic streak.