Woman hurls vicious homophobic abuse at a young creperie worker for refusing to accept fake bank notes
Police in Birmingham are seeking the public’s help to track down a woman who hurled homophobic abuse at a Crepeaffair worker.
The image was circulated by Birmingham police yesterday (July 15) five months after the terrifying incident occurred.
Louis Sumner, aged 24, told PinkNews that he was immediately suspicious when the woman, who was in her 40s, approached him in the crepe shop.
The woman asked him what was the cheapest thing she could buy at the store – a ploy he said is often used by customers looking to use fake notes to get the most possible change back.
She opted to buy a bottle of water and handed over a £20 Scottish note, Sumner said.
He checked the note and quickly established that it was fake – but when he told the customer, her tone changed dramatically.
“She slammed her hand down on the counter in front of me, calling me a ‘f**king faggot’,” Sumner said.
The man was forced to call emergency services in Birmingham for help.
“Part of me inside was absolutely infuriated and the other destroyed,” Sumner said. “This just reminded me of the times I was in class, getting called ‘faggot’, ‘gay’, being questioned about my sexuality, constantly.”
The woman then left the Birmingham store and Sumner called security and told them what had happened.
But security staff told him there was nothing they could do. Instead, he was told to follow the woman and call the police.
“I dialled 999, explaining the situation and describing her to the officer on the phone.”
Sumner said the woman then spotted him and charged at him and started calling him a “f**king faggot” and a “f**king queer”.
The police didn’t send anyone to assist me, even though they could hear the customer being homophobic to me.
“I kept my mouth shut, still on the phone to the officer who could hear everything and was reassuring me.”
He proceeded to follow the woman into another store while still on the phone to emergency services. While waiting for a lift, the woman again allegedly shouted homophobic slurs at him.
Sumner said the woman subsequently got into the lift, and that was the last he saw of her.
#APPEAL| Do you recognise this woman?
We’ve had a complaint after fake Scottish bank notes were attempted to be used at Crêpeaffaire in Birmingham’s Grand Central in February. When the notes were refused, a staff member suffered homophobic verbal abuse.
Quote: 20BW/42120M/20. pic.twitter.com/wP6xl5ZKRa
— Birmingham Police – #StayHomeSaveLives (@brumpolice) July 15, 2020
“I then left the centre, still on the phone to 999, crying for help saying I was scared to go back because I saw her daughter on the phone asking people to come.
“The police didn’t send anyone to assist me, even though they could hear the customer being homophobic to me.”
The worker said he had to fight to have his case investigated.
Following the incident, Sumner took four days off work due to severe anxiety, and had to see a doctor and go to hospital because of the overwhelming stress.
Police took a statement several days after the incident, but after that, he heard nothing from them.
Sumner said he then contacted Galop, an anti-LGBT+ violence charity, for help. They encouraged him to take the matter further with police.
He later discovered that they had registered the crime as a public order offence and not as a hate crime.
Sumner issued a complaint to police and said he later received an apology from the force for the way the incident was handled.
Finally, this month, they agreed to share an image of the woman on social media in an effort to help track her down.
West Midlands Police said no arrests have been made in the case and the appeal for information has not yet yielded results.
West Midlands Police confirmed to PinkNews that they received a report of a hate crime in February.
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“Within the same week, officers contacted the victim and obtained a statement and then contacted the security to get hold of any associated CCTV footage. An image sent from the victim was then circulated internally to officers,” the statement said.
“We regret and apologise that the victim was not kept sufficiently updated. We have since issued the image of the alleged suspect through our social media channels and encourage anyone with information to get in touch with us.”
Anyone with information can contact the police force’s live chat at west-midlands.police.uk from 8am to midnight or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 with the crime reference 20BW/42120M/20.