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Crime

Homophobic Belfast gang targets gay man for three years with abuse and attacks

Meka Beresford July 3, 2017
Police line do not cross

The mother of a gay man from Belfast has revealed how he has been the subject of attacks and abuse carried out by a homophobic gang for the last three years.

Paula Devine told Belfast Live how her son has been targetted for a number of years but police are unable to stop the attackers because

The 52-year-old told the outlet how she was scared that the gang would soon kill her son unless police were able to catch the attackers.

Devine explained: “It started with slurs about six months after he moved in, the name calling, it’s all homophobic abuse, once they found out he was gay that was it.”

The 25-year-old’s mother said that the gang saw her son as an “easy target”, and it has “snowballed” since then.

She said that the gang aren’t necessarily from the area, which makes it harder for Devine and neighbours to identify the attackers.

Devine also said that if they were to identify the attackers, they would be “killed” if they ever reported them to police.

Her house has been graffitied with homophobic slurs, and Devine says the gang have smashed windows five times over the last three years.

“We’ve [sic] loads and loads of police reports, and they’ve given plenty of referrals but unless they catch them there’s nothing they can do and we don’t know who they and even if we did know who they are you couldn’t even name them, they would kill you,” she said.

The abuse started with slurs, but in a more recent attack, Devine’s son and dog were attacked with stones.

“It’s got to the point now where I just can’t take more,” she said. “Last night he left my house to try and walk home and they stoned him, him and the dog in the street.”

Now, the young man has even had to stay at his mother’s house because when he attempted to leave to go to his own home he was attacked.

Devine has said that she’s “heartbroken” by the situation which she “cannot take any more”.

“I’ve tried for three years to get help and no-one is helping and what happens is these people walk away. They’re not afraid to torture him, to shout at him, they just don’t care, it’s a living nightmare.

“This has been going on three years, I’m a very private person so I haven’t spoken out before, we’re a small family.

“I don’t know what they want us to do, I just feel they’re going to end up killing him and I’ll just die,” she added.

More: attacks, Belfast, Homophobia, LGBT, Northern Ireland

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