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Police ‘concern’ over gay murders and rise in homophobic hate crimes

Staff Writer, Outside News Agency June 1, 2009

Police have expressed concern over a rise in homophobic violence following a number of murders of gay men.

Scotland Yard statistics show a nine per cent rise in homophobic and transphobic offences to 1,372 in the year up to April. Greater Manchester police saw a 63 per cent rise in homophobic crime.

Acting Detective Superintendent Gerry Campbell, of the Metropolitan police, who led a recent operation against hate crime, said: “Homophobia cannot be considered a thing of the past, it’s on the increase.”

A confidential briefing note for Scotland Yard’s LGBT advisory group, seen by the Observer, stated that nine “critical incidents” were recorded in the force’s area since March 2008, compared with five incidents from 2001 to 2005.

Last month, a gay man was stabbed to death in Tottenham, north London. Daryl Phillips, 39, had been stabbed in the leg and was treated at the scene at Avenue Road, but was later pronounced dead.

In March, Gerry Edwards, 59, was stabbed to death at his home in Bromley, south London. His partner, 56-year-old Chris Bevan, was taken to hospital with stab wounds.

A gay couple in Bradford were shot in April. Neville Corby died at the scene at Ashbourne Road while his 31-year-old partner Craig Freer survived with gunshot wounds to the chest.

According to Crown Prosecution Service figures, prosecutions for crimes involving homophobia rose 60 per cent over the past two years to 995 cases.

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