Two gay men were viciously assaulted by a group of men yelling homophobic slurs outside a nightclub in England over the weekend. And despite at least five calls to Essex police in the immediate aftermath of the attack, the couple didn't hear back from authorities until the following day.
Dan Wilson told Echo News he and his boyfriend Rob Morris were walking home early Sunday morning after leaving the Colors nightclub in Basildon when they were set upon by the group of men. The couple were punched, kicked, and stomped on not far from their flat.
"It was terrifying," Wilson said. "We didn't know if they had any weapons.
Wilson said Morris was "dressed in drag at the time" and upon seeing the men the couple "knew straight away they were coming straight for us."
He went on to say both men were "covered in cuts and bruises" and that he was suffering from cracked ribs.
"Rob came off worse," Morris continued. "We had our heads stamped on by them."
Luckily for the pair, a good Samaritan couple intervened to stop the assault.
"It was horrible," Morris said. "We're so grateful for the couple who stepped in to help. They prevented it getting any worse."
Morris's father, Dave, described the assault as "horrible" and upsetting.
"These people need to be named and shamed. I'm completely lost for words at what happened," he said of his son's attackers. "They were shouting homophobic chants while beating up my son, it's disgusting. They just came at them outside out of nowhere. The police need to catch them and make sure [they are] punished."
Essex police issued a statement saying they were investigating the incident and addressing the delayed response in contacting the victims.
"We know how distressing these incidents are and we try to respond to as many calls as possible with officers attending as many incidents as possible," a spokesman for Essex police was quoted. "However, a number of factors could impact on our ability to respond including the number of incidents taking place within the district, or within the county, that require a high-level resource. There may also be a large number of emergency calls that officers are attending. At the time this incident was called into us, all our available officers were deployed elsewhere."
The assaults continue a disturbing trend of violence targeting the LGBTQA+ community. In August, A group of approximately 10 teenaged boys and girls brutally attacked two gay men in a parking lot in East Hertsfordshire, leaving one man unconscious and both with multiple fractures to the face along with other serious injuries.
In another incident, A 25-year-old man in Sussex was sent to jail for five years earlier in August following his conviction for a brutal homophobic assault that left a gay man unconscious in the street.
Morris and Wilson are convalescing at home, but the couple remains distraught about the attack.
"This kind of thing just shouldn't be happening," Morris said. "Basildon is meant to be promoting the LGBT community."
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