Three men arrested following ‘abhorrent’ attack against gay couple in Edinburgh

Police Scotland

Three men have been arrested and charged in connection to a “abhorrent” attack against a gay couple in Edinburgh’s city centre.

The two gay men, who are understood to be a couple, brutally attacked and robbed on Edinburgh’s bustling Leith Street, near John Lewis, on 30 July. The incident happened around 9.20pm in front of a group of people.

An eye witness told the Edinburgh Evening News that they had seen a group of men punching, kicking and spitting on the victims before stealing a bag and fleeing. Shockingly, the witness said they saw people walk and drive by the scene, and some even watched and laughed.

Police Scotland announced Saturday (7 August) that three men – aged 23, 22 and 21 – had been arrested in connection to the incident. The police force said the men had been charged with two alleged assaults and homophobic crime.

The men have been released on an undertaking to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at a later date. Police Scotland said a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

Detective inspector Mark McGraw said in a statement that “any form of hate crime” has a “huge impact on those targeted”.

“An attack on people because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race or beliefs is abhorrent and will not be tolerated,” he added.

Police Scotland previously said the gay men – who are aged 33 and 30 – “weren’t seriously injured” following the attack.

Colin MacFarlane, director of Stonewall Scotland and Northern Ireland, condemned the incident on Twitter. He said the attack on the gay men was “horrific” and that “hate crimes against LGBT+ people are on the rise”.

“For many of us, being free to be ourselves requires constant risk assessments to ensure we are safe on our streets,” MacFarlane wrote.

Jordan Daly, founder of Scottish inclusive education charity Time for Inclusive Education (TIE), wrote: “Horrifying. This is why deciding to hold hands, or kiss, or cuddle in public is often accompanied by fear and feels like a risk assessment.

“This is why whipping up prejudice against minority communities is dangerous.”