Gay couple forced to leave home after homophobic abuse
A gay couple in Kent have spoken of how they had to flee their home after suffering weeks of homophobic abuse.
Keith Stepney, 53, and John Mead, 42, told BBC South East they began to fear for their lives during the campaign by local youths in Northfleet.
Eggs and rocks were thrown at their windows, while homophobic graffiti was daubed on their house. The couple were also verbally abused on a daily basis by youths and adults in their neighbourhood.
Stepney described it as a “living hell” and said he believed they were being targeted because of their sexuality.
He said:”The only thing that we can think that started it off was when we shouted at them because they were pushing through our conifers, walking on the plants, and pulling plants up.
“Then after that it started with one egg, then an hour later another egg, and then we had stones thrown at the window.
“I believe we were targeted because we’re a gay couple.”
He added: “We feared for our lives . . . we just couldn’t move outside unless someone was there with a car.”
The couple claimed police had not taken their fears seriously at first and said there had been over 100 incidents of abusive and anti-social behaviour in a six-week period.
Kent Police said three people had been arrested. One was given a warning while two were released without charge.
Chief superintendent Paul Brandon said: “Kent Police always takes reports of anti-social behaviour seriously and will react, provide resources and tackle the problems faced by people.”
Stepney and Mead have now been moved to another housing association property.