Young couple in Gloucestershire assaulted by gang hurling homophobic abuse

Two police officers wear the yellow, blue and black uniforms associated with law enforcement in England and Wales as they stand at the scene of a crime

A gang of teenage boys reportedly shouted homophobic abuse and assaulted a young couple on Easter Sunday evening in Cheltenham, England. 

A group of around six boys, aged between 16 and 17, approached a young couple on 9 April at around 8.15pm as they walked on the lower end of the Gloucestershire town’s high street, near a Tesco store.

The gang shouted homophobic slurs and abuse at the two boys. The verbal altercation then turned violent when the gang physically assaulted the couple, leaving one victim with another nosebleed while the other boy received a bruised jaw. 

According to Gloucestershire Police, the suspects then fled the scene of the crime down side streets and away from the town centre. They were described as being white teenage boys who were all wearing tracksuits. 

“Officers are currently investigating and reviewing all CCTV footage from the area,” Gloucestershire Police stated in an appeal. “They are now asking for anyone who witnessed the incident or who may have any information to come forward.”

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has information can pass along any details they may have to police via an online form and quoting incident 332 of 9 April.

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The homophobic incident in Cheltenham comes amid a rising number of reported hate-fuelled attacks against LGBTQ+ people in England and Wales. 

Official figures from the Home Office revealed at least 155,841 hate crimes were recorded from March 2021 to March 2022. 

According to the damning report, this was around a 26 per cent increase from the previous year and was the most significant rise in reported hate crimes since 2016/17. 

Horrifically, these figures showed a 41 per cent increase in hate crime against people because of their sexual orientation, and a staggering 56 per cent increase in transphobic hate crimes in England and Wales over the last year. 

Advocates have warned that anti-trans narratives in the media translate to violence against trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people in the UK. 

The Home Office even acknowledged: “Transgender issues have been heavily discussed on social media over the last year, which may have led to an increase in related hate crimes.”

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.