Police investigate hate crime after cyclist abuses two men on a picnic date in Birmingham

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

Police have launched an investigation into a hate crime after a cyclist hurled homophobic abuse at two men having a picnic date. 

The incident occurred on 9 June at the University of Birmingham’s Vale campus. 

One of the victims, James Horne, 28, was eating with a friend at the Edgbaston Park Road site when the male cyclist approached them. 

Horne told Birmingham Live that the man embarked on a hateful tirade, calling the pair “disgusting” and many other insults that Horne refused to repeat. 

Horne, who is a member of Birmingham Swifts LGBT+ running group, said that at around 8pm, while he was on a picnic date with his friend, the man approached them and used homophobic language in a threatening tone.

‘We will not tolerate people being targeted in this way’

“He told us we were disgusting and other unpleasant things,” Horne told Birmingham Live.

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“I don’t want to feel unsafe for doing basic things like enjoying a picnic. I feel there is more to be done in the area to ensure hate crimes don’t happen and residents feel safe.

“I’d like to feel my local elected officials are actively trying to stop hate crimes from occurring in their area. I’ve spoken to police and have had a response from the university and my local councillor.

“But beyond expressing sympathy, there has been no tangible action.”

A West Midlands Police spokesperson confirmed the force has launched a detailed investigation into the incident as a hate crime.

“Hate crime and keeping people safe in our community is important. Everyone should feel safe and comfortable to be who they are, we will not tolerate people being targeted in this way.”

In 2022, figures released by police showed that anti-LGBTQ+ violence in the UK was rising at a record-breaking rate, with reports of such crimes more than doubling in five years, shooting from 10,003 in 2016-17 to 26,824 in 2021-22.

Anyone with information about this incident should contact police by calling 101, quoting crime reference number 20/512287/23. Alternatively, information can also be given anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

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.