A gay couple who run a pub in Norwich said they were punched and kicked by a gang of 15 men recently, in an abuse they have called a homophobic hate crime.

Norwich Evening News 24 reports that Jesse Charlebois, 34, and David Hayes, 26, suffered scratches, bruises, and concussion from the mob after they asked them to leave the Kings pub on Saturday at about 5:30pm.

The venue only had a handful of customers at the time of the attack, when the mob – who were already drunk and loud – started throwing items around and refused to leave when told.

After shouting homophobic abuse at the couple, the gang then punched Mr Charlebois in the head several times leaving a suspected broken cheekbone. Mr Hayes also suffered bruises and concussion after one of the attackers had grabbed him by the hair.

Andy Watt, their chef, was also bitten on the hand and suffered concussion.

Police are launching an investigation and have appealed to the public for information about the incident, which involved a group of white men aged 20-30 years old.

So far there have been no arrests, although the faces of the attackers were captured on CCTV.

The couple, who have run the pub for the last four months, told Norwich Evening News 24 they had never experienced such a level of violence after years of experience running pubs across London.

Mr Charlebois said he feared that he had been scarred for life after the right side of his face was badly scratched.

He said: “We really hope they catch them and if they catch them, I want them put away. This is a hate crime and this is our business and home.

“We are not going to let morons think they have won. I have run pubs in Hackney in the murder mile and nothing like this has happened. If it has happened four hours later, there would have been 100 policemen on the corner. Everyone was shocked by it.”

Mr Hayes added that the men targeted them after realising they were gay. He said the attack lasted about 15 minutes.

“It could have been so much worse and he [Mr Charlebois] had many punches in the head. None of them ran away and they were quite proud about what they achieved.”

Police have urged for information from anyone who witnessed the attack or anyone who may have seen the group of men before or after the incident.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Norwich CID on 101, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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