A US Army veteran from Todmorden who was racially abused on a packed tram said he would speak out again as the three youths responsible admit their guilt.

Father-of-one Juan Jasso, a former US serviceman who has lived in England for 18 years, stepped forward and tackled Aaron Cauchi, 19, Robert Molloy, 20, and another youth aged 16, as they used foul language on a tram.

All three had been up all night and were drinking and 'looking for trouble' when they abused three people, all on their way to work in Manchester city centre, on the morning of June 28 last year, the city's crown court heard.

In response all three turned on him.

Joseph O'Connor, prosecuting, said the racist attack came just five days after the EU referendum.

Trouble first began around 7.45am when a passenger heard 'disgusting, vile abuse' on the tram packed with mothers with babies in buggies, schoolchildren and commuters, the court heard.

After Mr Jasso stepped forward and tackled the group, telling them to mind their language, Molloy shouted racist slurs and flicked beer over him before all three got off the tram.

Minutes later the court heard they surrounded Alistair Lambert, who was with a female work colleague, "with their chests stuck out and shoulders back" and striking him with a cigarette lighter to intimidate him, said Mr O'Connor.

Shortly after, Andrew Guest was cycling to work when he passed the three.

One or more spat in his face and down his body.

Mr Guest stopped but one of them shouted, "We have got one!" and they began to chase him so he got back on his bike and cycled away.

When the video of the tram attack went viral, all three were identified and arrested.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age and was accompanied to court by his grandmother, pleaded guilty to using threatening words or behaviour towards Mr Jasso and Mr Lambert and common assault to Mr Guest.

Cauchi, of Spa Crescent, Little Hulton, Salford, pleaded guilty to the same public order offences against Mr Jasso and Mr Lambert, and assault on Mr Guest.

Molloy, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to a racially aggravated assault on Mr Jasso, common assault on Mr Guest and using threatening words and behaviour to Mr Lambert.

The 16-year-old was sentenced to a six-month referral order, a £100 fine and £5 compensation to each of the three victims.

Sentencing of the other two was adjourned until today.

Mr Jasso, who attended court as a witness for a trial but was not called to give evidence due to the guilty pleas, has received thousands of messages of support for taking his stand.

He said he thought others should confront such racism and bad behaviour if they felt able to, and he still felt welcome in the UK.

He added: "I will always stand up for what I believe is right.

"For me to be on the receiving end of that was a bit of a shock.

"I don't see them as very good members of society.

"This place is still home, it always will be, it hasn't changed my view on anything about this place, I love England, love living here, love the area."