Justice for gay couple who were brutally attacked on Valentine’s Day

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Three teenagers who committed a homophobic hate crime have been jailed.

The male youths – two aged 16 and one aged 17 – were each sentenced to six months in prison at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court yesterday for the attack.

Phil Poole and his boyfriend Zbynek Zatloukal were on their way to London when they were attacked by the defendants on Valentine’s Day this year.


One of the 16-year-old attackers walked through the carriages and spotted the victims asleep and resting on each other.

He went back to inform the other two.

The trio then returned and engaged the victims in conversation before attacking them.

They were punched and kicked several times.

They stamped on one of the victims, the Crown Prosecution Service said, while the other was hit over the head with a glass bottle.

The sustained attack left both victims with extensive bruising to the head and face. One of the men lost two teeth.

Following a police investigation, the three defendants were charged and pleaded guilty to violent disorder.

One also pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon.

The CPS said the attack was motivated by hatred of the victims’ actual or perceived sexual orientation and asked the court to treat the incident as a homophobic hate crime.

This was accepted and each defendant received a four-month prison sentence, increased to six months because of the hate crime element.

They were also each ordered to pay £100 in compensation to each of their victims.

Lauranne Middleton from the CPS said: “This was a violent assault and we successfully argued that it was fuelled by the defendants’ homophobia.

“Where prosecutors have evidence that an attack was motivated by hostility towards someone’s sexual orientation, they will ask the court to consider this as an aggravating factor which deserves a harsher sentence.

“This successful prosecution demonstrates how seriously the CPS treats such cases and our commitment to bringing offenders of hate crime to justice.”

The prosecution also successfully applied for one of the victims and another witness to give evidence from behind a screen to allay their fears about being targeted or intimidated.