Couple found guilty of subjecting neighbour to ‘barrage’ of homophobic abuse in gay-friendly city
A couple have been found guilty of homophobically abusing their neighbour.
Gary Corness, 32, and his girlfriend Lacey Lee, 24, allegedly threatened to break the victim’s CCTV camera during the lengthy conflict.
Both Corness and Lee, who live on Warbleton Close in Brighton, were convicted on Sunday of public order offences.
Due to the homophobic nature of the crimes, their sentences were increased by the Brighton Magistrates Court.
They were both handed 12-month community orders and ordered to pay costs, Brighton and Hove News has reported.
According to Lee Croizer from the Criminal Prosecution Service, the victim “was met with a barrage of abuse from the two defendants, including homophobic comments, after saying hello to his neighbours.”
Croizer went on to emphasise the importance of people to speak up against abuse of this nature.
“In this case, the homophobic language was heard, not only by the victim, but was witnessed by other neighbours, who came forward to help with statements.
“Information like this can often be valuable in bringing those who perpetrate hate crime to justice.”
Brighton is known as one of the most gay-friendly parts of the UK – it holds one of the biggest Pride parades every year, and has a number of gay-friendly pubs, clubs and cafes around the Kemptown area.
However, despite the city being unofficially known as the UK’s “gay capital”, LGBT people living in Brighton are not immune to homophobic abuse.
In 2014, a lesbian couple were told by a security guard in a Brighton Sainsbury’s that a customer found them “disgusting” after they kissed, and even threatened to evict them from the shop.
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The treatment of the two women resulted in Sussex University hosting a kiss-in protest, attracting hundreds of people to support the couple.
Last year, Dain Finney and his partner James Loxton were violently attacked during a night out in Brighton, after being followed by two men who shouted homophobic comments at them as they were walking home.
Dain bravely opened up about the attack on Facebook, and the couple’s story was shared around the world.
According to Sussex Police, what happened to Dain and James was a “violent and unprovoked homophobic attack on two men who were singled out for their sexual orientation.”