Gay couple told they will ‘burn in hell’ while being brutally beaten by teenage thugs for holding hands

Teen thugs jailed for violent attack on gay men who were holding hands

Two teenagers have been locked up for a vicious homophobic attack on two gay men whom they told to “burn in hell” for holding hands.

David Bailey, 18, and Ashley Roberts, 19, targeted the couple as they walked towards Piccadilly Station in Manchester during the early hours of August 3.

One of the victims had just finished working in a bar in Piccadilly Gardens when his partner joined him. They went into a Spar shop and emerged holding hands, which provoked a storm of homophobic abuse from Bailey and Roberts.

The couple were followed to the station as the teens shouted abuse such as “you will burn in hell”, and “it’s disgusting”. Soon after demands for money were made, with the men being ordered to hand over £20 or they would “kill” them.

When they refused, Bailey and Roberts launched an attack on the couple, punching and kicking them. Manchester Evening News reported that minor injuries were inflicted and one man’s glasses and mobile phone were damaged.

Greater Manchester Police were called and the two teens, both from Stoke-on-Trent, were apprehended.

Speaking at Manchester Crown Court, judge Suzanne Goddard QC said: “They were perfectly entitled to walk as they were, hand in hand. Your behaviour was wholly unacceptable that night.”

Defending Roberts, attorney Paul Bryning said he was 18 and “young and immature” at the time, and that alcohol was a factor. “He is appalled at what he has done. He is clearly somebody who doesn’t think when in drink,” he said.

Bailey’s defence Harriet Tighe said he is remorseful for his actions and that he has abstained from alcohol since the incident. The judge said it was a “great shame,” that Bailey, who had a full time job, had allowed himself to become involved.

Both Bailey and Roberts pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted robbery. Manchester Crown Court sentenced the pair to 32 months each in a young offender’s institution.