Man escapes prison after hurling homophobic slurs at police officers and threatening to ‘spread coronavirus’
A man from Southhampton, England who hurled homophobic language at two police officers before threatening to “spread coronavirus” walked free from court.
Adam Michael Bray was arrested on April 12 after he shattered a window in Pennywell Gardens in New Milton on April 4.
He was brought to the Southampton Central Police Station on Southern Road where, the Daily Echo reported, the chastised two officers with homophobic slurs and suggested he would infect them with COVID-19.
The 32-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of criminal damage and two counts of causing harassment using threatening and abusive language and behaviour at Southampton Magistrates’ Court.
Bray, based in Barton Court Road, New Milton, was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison suspended for two years. He was also banned from entering Pennywell Gardens for 12 months.
Courts also ordered Bray to pay a £122 victim surcharge and £85 court costs as well as £200 compensation.
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LGBT+ hate crime has surged in England and Wales.
The incident comes after reports of hate crimes against LGBT+ people in England and Wales have rocketed according to new data compiled by the Home Office and released in 2019.
There was a 25 per cent rise in hate crimes based on sexual orientation that year, the data showed, while anti-trans hate crime has more than quadrupled in the last five years.
One such attack in the swathe of growing hate crime statistics was the case of a Southampton gay couple who were “punched to the floor” and repeatedly “kicked in the head”.
Jamie Edwards, 33, Damian Hampton, 26, were attacked near a local shop December 4.
They were leaving the retailer together, but were followed by a group of three teenagers in hoodies and balaclavas who began hurling homophobic abuse at them.
“I had to watch my boyfriend being booted on the floor and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it,” Edwards said.