Two teenage girls beaten and robbed in ‘unprovoked homophobic hate crime’

Two teenage girls were beaten and robbed by a gang of five people in what Hertfordshire, England, police say was an “unprovoked homophobic attack”.

On Friday evening (13 August), the group approached the victims, aged 17 and 19, in Market Square in Hitchin at around 7:45pm.

According to Greatest Hits Radio, the girls were verbally abused by the group before they set upon them both.

Kicking and punching them relentlessly, the assailants swiped the pair’s mobile phones and purses. The two had to be hospitalised for treatment.

The suspects are described as white teenagers. One had curly brown hair and wore black basketball shorts and a white t-shirt.

Two others, the victims claimed, wore black hooded tops and black shorts.

Police launch witness appeal for ‘homophobic’ hate crime

Detectives have issued an appeal for witnesses and are treating the incident as a hate crime.

“This was an unprovoked homophobic attack which left the victims needing hospital treatment,” detective constable Rebecca Robinson told the radio station.

“I would appeal to anyone who was in the town centre last night and who saw what happened or who has any information about the incident to please contact us.”

Anyone with information about the incident can report information online at https://orlo.uk/K9i0X, speak to an operator in the force communications room via the online webchat at https://orlo.uk/NcHvG or call 101, quoting crime reference 41/62451/21.

Alternatively, you can stay anonymous by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via the untraceable online form at crimestoppers-uk.org.

The attack comes just days after a similar attack in neighbouring Bishop’s Stortford, some 20 miles southeast of Hitchin.

In disturbing parallels, a gang of at least 10 teenagers pummelled two men in a Waitrose car parking lot.

One of the victims, a 22-year-old, was knocked unconscious while the 25-year-old suffered bruising and lacerations across his face, a split eyebrow and fractures to his jaw and hand.

Such incidents of violence have grown as England continues to grapple with rocketing hate crime rates. Between 2015 and 2018, homophobic and transphobic hate crimes more than doubled in England and Wales.

Across the four year period, the rate of LGBT+ hate crime, including offences such as harassment, assault and stalking, climbed up by 144 per cent.