Man kills himself after months of homophobic abuse
Scottish man Scott McIntosh killed himself after suffering months of homophobic abuse by a former schoolmate, a court has heard.
The 28 year old, who worked as a deep sea diver, had recently come out as gay when he began receiving homophobic abuse from 29 year old Kevin Edgar, an oil rig worker.
McIntosh, who had a four-year-old son, took his own life on February 25, nearly 20 months after the hateful calls first started, Scottish newspaper The Sunday Post reported. But friends of the diver said the homophobic abuse from Edgar triggered McIntosh’s depression and anxiety.
Edgar pleaded guilty to a charge of making obscene phone calls, aggravated by prejudice relating to sexual orientation, on November 7. Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that the calls containing homophobic abuse were anonymous, but McIntosh recognised Edgar’s voice.
Edgar had originally been charged for violating the Communications Act 2003 by making and sending threatening phone calls and messages to McIntosh over four months, but his reduced charge only concerned calls made on August 28, 2016.
The oil rig worker admitted the calls contained “homophobic remarks” and were “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.” He is due to be sentenced next month.
According to the Equality Network’s Scottish LGBTI Hate Crime Report published in October last year, 66 percent of gay male respondents had suffered a hate crime, but a staggering 71 percent of victims did not report the incident to the police.
Out of the minority of people whose case went to court, only one in four reported a satisfactory outcome. In response to these statistics, the Scottish government launched a campaign aimed at targeting transphobic and homophobic abuse in September. The government also announced the creation of a National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group to make recommendations on suicide prevention.
Victim of homophobic abuse was “a fun-loving boy”
McIntosh’s father Doug spoke to The Scottish Sun in August, describing what the loss of his son meant to his family and his grandson Riley, who lives in Ireland with his mother.
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“Scott was a fun-loving boy and full of life, like his whole family. He adored his wee boy and Riley adored him. He did really well in the commercial diving industry and we were all very proud of him,” Doug told the publication.
“It’s heartbreaking because [Riley] keeps asking for his daddy whenever he’s here. When he comes over he asks ‘Where’s daddy?’ and it’s really difficult to explain to him what has happened and why,” he said.
Doug raised £5,860 via a crowdfunding campaign supported by 150 donors, dedicated to his son and grandson, pledging to keep raising money to support mental health charities.
He said: “With depression and anxiety, especially in young men, there’s a stigma but that’s just the way the world is going, I want to focus the rest of my years on helping raise awareness and money for this cause. It’s very emotional for me.”
Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255 or the Trans Lifeline on 877-565-8860.