Gay couple targeted in homophobic attack by teenage gang on east London street
Published: 24 June 2014
Updated: 13:44, 24 June 2014
A gay couple today told how they are afraid to walk around East London after a teenage gang branded them “bleep” and assaulted them.
Walter Adrian, 23, and his boyfriend, who asked not to be named, were attacked outside Barclays bank on Whitechapel Road after leaving a friend’s party.
As they withdrew cash, up to seven Bangladeshi teenagers on pushbikes surrounded them asking “who is s***ing who off?” and “are you bleep?”. They then punched and kicked the couple.
Mr Adrian, a freelance journalist from Bow, said: “We weren’t even holding hands or kissing or anything, but all the comments were based on us being gay.
Victim: Walter Adrian, 23
“One of them said ‘f***ing bleep’ so we wanted to try and leave and my partner pushed one of them but then they got physical.
“They punched him and then there were six or seven of them just going at us while we were cornered against the wall.
“They were saying, ‘this is our street, this is our area, get out of here’, just because they thought we were gay. It happens a lot round this area and East London.
“We weren’t even acting gay and that’s what’s upsetting. Whether anyone is gay or not you just can’t feel safe. You’re scared of being attacked and afraid to go out by yourself.”
Mr Adrian was left unconscious after the attack just before midnight on Friday, June 13, when the pair were hit at least ten times. He has bruises around his temple and stomach while his partner had a swollen jaw.
Mr Adrian described the attackers as 15 to 18-year-old Bangladeshis wearing dark sports clothing, some with hoodies. One was wearing an over-sized yellow T-shirt. The gang rode off down Sidney Street following the seven-minute attack and did not make any attempts to steal the couple’s phones or cash.
Mr Adrian’s partner, a Masters media student at Goldsmiths University, said: “I feel like I have to ‘gay-down’ a bit, that I should wear trousers and not skinny ones. We are not very gay, we don’t wear pink or glitter, and they still picked on us.
“We are just scared and afraid it might happen again and it just shouldn’t be like that. You get these patrols that make you feel like you’re trespassing in their area. I think it’s a clash as people are starting to move into multicultural areas.”
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “We were called at 1.40am on June 13 to reports of an assault in Whitechapel Road. Investigations continue.”