Hotelier cleared after refusing to let gay couple share bed

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

A gay couple’s weekend country retreat was ruined after a hotel manager refused to let them share a double bed, a court was told.

Kevin Smith and Jose Ruiz claim hotel owner Robert Bush threatening them with a gun after locking them out of the hotel the night before. The London based couple had planned to stay at the White Hart Hotel in Overton, near Basingstoke, but they found their booking for a double room did not meet Mr Bush’s approval.

Mr Bush, 60, suggested a twin room might be more suitable. He told Winchester Crown Court he thought locals would ‘take the mickey’ out of him for letting gay men share a bed. Prosecutor Sarah Jones said Mr Smith and Mr Ruiz went out to attend a friend’s birthday party but when they came back after midnight they had been locked out.

Unable to wake staff, they were forced to sleep at the home of Mr Smith’s cousin. Mr Ruiz said that when they returned the next morning Mr Bush was smirking and did not offer a sincere apology.

Tensions rose and Mr Ruiz and Mr Smith went to leave, but they heard Mr Bush allegedly shout ‘I’m a bloody good shot!’ and saw him holding what Mr Ruiz said was a handgun.

Mr Ruiz said: ‘I thought Mr Bush was going to shoot us.’ However, Mr Bush said he had simply been holding a beer tap.

He told the court: ‘I’m not homophobic. I have friends who are gay.’ Defence barrister Charles Cochand said the gay couple were over-sensitive.

Mr Bush, who sold his hotel in January, was cleared of possessing a firearm or imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of unlawful violence.