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‘Horrific’ homophobic attack forces man to move away from Cornwall

"I keep shaking, when I hear a bang I jump, I'm always looking behind me."

By Alastair James

A man has been forced to move away from home after a homophobic attack in Cornwall. (Image: Alexander Grey/Pexels)

A man from Cornwall has had to move away from his home after a homophobic attack.

The man, who’s remaining anonymous, was leaving a pub in Camborne in July when he was attacked.

He tells the BBC “It was just horrific… he just kept punching and kicking.”

Since then he hasn’t felt safe. He added: “I keep shaking, when I hear a bang I jump, I’m always looking behind me.”

After being hospitalised in the homophobic attack, he’s moved to Birmingham. He also says some of the injuries have been internal.

“Mentally I’m not there; I really suffer,” he adds.

Matthew Kenworthy-Gomes, the director of Cornwall Pride, has also suffered homophobic abuse in the past. He came out in secondary school.

He says, “I had lots of verbal abuse, I’ve been beaten up a couple of times – well more than a couple of times – directly because I’m gay.”

Recent figures show a rise in homophobic and transphobic hate crimes
Recent figures show a rise in homophobic and transphobic hate crimes. (Image: Alexander Grey/Pexels)

In response to a Freedom of Information request from the BBC, Devon and Cornwall Police shared figures showing an increase in LGBTQ hate crimes from 2021.

Comparing May 2021 to May 2022, homophobic hate crimes rose from 46 to 66. In August they rose from 75 in 2021 to 94 in 2022.

In the year until August 2021, there were 442 LGBTQ hate crimes compared to 554 this year.

Devon and Cornwall Police is “cautiously positive” about the figures given hate crimes often go under-reported.

Superintendent Antony Hart adds the force will do its “very best to bring people to justice” for homophobic hate crimes.

However, LGBTQ charities say that recent figures are “only the tip of the iceberg”. They say “so many LGBTQ people would never willingly speak to the police about what happens to them.”

VICE World News published figures in August revealed a 168 percent increase in homophobic hate crimes.

From 2016-17 to 2021-22 reported cases rose from 10,003 to 26,824.