A gay couple were left covered in blood and needing stitches following a brutal homophobic hate crime in Birmingham in the early hours of Sunday morning (15 August).
Rob and his husband Patrick, both from Oxfordshire, travelled to Birmingham on Saturday night (14 August) to attend a friend’s housewarming party. Later that night, they went to the city’s Gay Village with friends.
At around 4am, the couple, who are both in their 30s, were outside the Missing Bar on Bromsgrove Street when they were targeted by a group of four men in an SUV.
Rob tried to “start a conversation” and “have a joke” with the men, but the encounter quickly descended into violence. The group in the SUV started hurling homophobic slurs at Rob and Patrick.
Patrick tried to record the men on his phone so they could take the footage to police, which prompted them to steal his phone and push him to the ground.
The group of men then drove away in their SUV. Rob and Patrick’s friend reached through an open window on the car in an effort to retrieve the phone. She was dragged along the road by the moving vehicle, injuring her foot in the process.
Rob ran after the SUV and eventually caught up to them when they were stopped at traffic lights.
There, four men got out of the car and proceeded to violently beat Rob with glass bottles.
Rob can remember the men calling him a “f****t” as they beat him – although his memory of the most vicious part of the attack is “hazy”.
Woke up today to these messages- Ron & Patrick were brutally attacked outside @MissingBarBrum last night. Another Day, another horrific homophobic attack on the #LGBTQI community. – These attacks are unfortunately becoming more & more frequent. pic.twitter.com/Pa1gJz531i
— Linda Riley (@LindaRiley8) August 15, 2021
“I was hoping that if I could delay them, then maybe the police would come and everyone in the vehicle would have to atone for what they just did,” Rob told PinkNews.
“Patrick had run down the street after them by that point and tried to tackle one of the guys, and I think possibly some of my other friends were trying to help,” Rob explained.
“Then the men got back in the vehicle and sped off.”
Shortly afterwards, Rob, Patrick and a female friend who was also injured during the incident were taken to a nearby hospital where each of them was treated for their injuries. Rob received more than 16 stitches in his head and had six more on his hand.
The couple were discharged from the hospital at 4pm on Sunday.
Gay couple targeted in Birmingham hate crime think the attack was ‘premeditated’
While the hate crime was traumatising, Rob feels “lucky” that it wasn’t worse.
“If they had knives in their car instead of bottles, then I think I would probably be still in hospital.”
“I don’t know why on Earth these guys think a fun Saturday night is going down to the Gay Village at four in the morning to call people f****ts outside a gay bar. It’s horrible, and I hope they get found and have to atone for what they did.”
Rob believes the men were in the area specifically to target queer people, adding that their actions seemed “premeditated”.
“I can’t imagine why else they would be in the Gay Village. They would have known, or at least they should have known, that that was the Gay Village,” he said.
“The fact that I was being nice and trying to start a conversation and have a joke with them, which I do with a lot of people I meet on the streets after a night out and never have any problems, the fact that escalated so aggressively and instantaneously to that level – I think that was their intention.”
West Midlands Police have confirmed they are investigating after two men and their friend were injured in a homophobic attack in Birmingham.
The police force said in a statement that it is carrying out “urgent enquiries” to identify the attackers.
“This was an absolutely appalling attack and robbery on people just trying to enjoy a night out in the city centre,” said Inspector Steve Lloyd of Birmingham Police.
“They’ve suffered homophobic abuse before being physically injured, and we are working incredibly hard to find those responsible.
“We’ll be working closely with businesses in the area, and the Southside BID, to reassure them that we are taking this appalling hate crime very seriously.”
Police said the assailants are thought to be of Middle Eastern or Asian appearance. Detectives are appealing to anybody with information to contact them, quoting the case number 552.