CPS apologises for suggesting bisexual doctor was brutally murdered due to his ‘lifestyle choices’
A senior barrister has denied victim-blaming in the grisly death of Dr Gary Jenkins in a case that has sickened Britain and raised questions around policing.
Jenkins, an openly bisexual consultant psychiatrist, was brutally beaten and left for dead by two men and a teenage girl at a Cardiff park last year.
On Thursday (3 February), Lee Strickland, 36, Jason Edwards, 25, and Dionne Timms-Williams, 17, were convicted of murder following an eight-day trial at Merthyr Crown Court in Wales.
The three kicked and punched and stamped on his head for up to 30 minutes as he begged them to stop in Bute Park.
“I needed that,” said Timms-Williams, who was just 16 at the time of the attack in audio picked up by a CCTV camera.
But remarks by prosecutor Dafydd Enoch left the LGBT+ community, long familiar with derision and threats to their safety, enraged.
Enoch described Jenkins to jurors as “actively bisexual” before saying that the victim’s “sexual predilections would be his undoing”, rather than, say, three people stamping on his head while shouting homophobic slurs.
Gary Jenkins was well-liked despite his “lifestyle choices or peccadilloes”, Enoch added.
“By engaging in this activity,” he said of the man “tortured” by the trio and left with his trousers down, “he rendered himself hopelessly vulnerable and was an easy target.
“By its very nature, the activity was infused with risk.”
Prosector had no ‘intention to blame Dr Gary Jenkins’
Dafydd Enoch told the BBC that he did not mean to blame Dr Gary Jenkins in the case in comments that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) apologised for.
“It was never my intention to apportion any blame on Dr Jenkins,” Enoch told the public broadcaster.
The CPS said: “The only people responsible for this horrific crime were those convicted today by the jury.
The suggestion that Dr Jenkins was in any way to blame is completely wrong.
“We apologise for inappropriate and insensitive remarks made during the opening statement.”
Iestyn Wyn, a researcher for Stonewall Cymru, the Welsh branch of the LGBT+ group, denounced Enoch’s comments.
“The responsibility being put on the victim rather than the perpetrators is obviously insensitive in our view and wrong as it is a distraction from the crimes that were committed by the perpetrators.
“Language is really important and at times language like this can distract from the fact that LGBTQ+ and people from all walks of life should be treated with respect and dignity and should not be targeted.”
Murder of bisexual doctor is ‘reminder of the hate we face for simply existing’
On 25 July, Enoch launched the prosecutor’s case with an attack against Gary Jenkins’ being openly bisexual. “He was open about it and his colleagues were well aware, including Dr Paul Cantrell, his line manager,” he said.
He said the therapist was “in the habit of attending Bute Park in Cardiff at night looking for sexual contact with like-minded men”.
“He would often drink heavily as well although he was thought of as fit and healthy and proud of his appearance,” he added.
Enoch’s critiques drew fierce criticism online, from both LGBT+ community leaders and lawmakers.
He was not “undone” by his “sexual proclivities”. He was brutally attacked, and died.
We have a long way to go. https://t.co/II08oYzwWx
— Jeremy Miles (@Jeremy_Miles) January 26, 2022
Jury in terrible case of murdered gay doctor told he was well-liked despite his “lifestyle choices or peccadilloes”.
Little wonder #LGBTQ people are afraid to report crimes against them.https://t.co/v80Nem5VIo— Matthew Hodson (@Matthew_Hodson) February 3, 2022
And yes, the QC apologised for his remarks but a) only because of the uproar and b) the point is to how deeply and insidiously prejudice runs. Even when we’re dead. Even when we’re murdered. And even when the person saying this is supposed to be seeking justice for us.— Patrick Strudwick (@PatrickStrud) February 3, 2022
The CPS has apologised. Cruising is not itself a crime. But it stays with me that this comment was made by the prosecution, not the defence. Dr Jenkins’ ‘undoing’ was the fact that three people decided to prey on gay & bisexual men, and stamped on his head until his brain bled.— James B (@piercepenniless) February 4, 2022
Stonewall Cymru, the Welsh branch of the LGBT+ group, has organised a vigil in memory of Gary Jenkins. It will be held at the National Museum by Cathays Park on Sunday afternoon.
“LGBTQ+ people should be free to go about their lives without fear or restriction,” Stonewall tweeted.
? LGBTQ+ people should be free to go about their lives without fear or restriction, Dr Jenkins' tragic death is a reminder of the hate our communities face for simply existing. https://t.co/WumL6yr3lW— Stonewall (@stonewalluk) February 3, 2022
“Dr Jenkins’ tragic death is a reminder of the hate our communities face for simply existing.”
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