Teens battered and taunted in vile homophobic attack after Pride celebration

Sickening footage shows a group of teenage friends being battered and taunted in a homophobic attack just moments after they left a Pride Month celebration.

The video shows youths surrounding a taxi, ripping open the doors and kicking and punching the passengers aged between 14 and 16 in an incident now being investigated as a hate crime.

Vile homophobic slurs are heard in the mobile phone footage as the shocking assault unfolded after a Pride event in Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday evening.

Two traumatised teens who were verbally abused by the youths have bravely spoken out – saying homophobia "is still a very real problem" – after they were called horrible names and told to "go kill yourselves", StokeonTrentLive reports.

The attack on the young friends, all from Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire, happened after they left the Pride event in Hanley Park at 6pm on Saturday.

Four got into the taxi and the others continued walking down the road.

A 14-year-old girl, who identifies as bisexual, said: "We'd had a great time at Pride then all of a sudden this group appeared and started chasing after the taxi. They pulled open the door and start attacking them.

"There were girls screaming at us. They told us to 'go kill yourselves' and said we should die.

"One of them shouted 'faggots'. I've had a few things said to me before but nothing like this. It was mainly girls but there were some boys too. It was right outside the YMCA."

The girl, who has been to Pride four times, added: "I'm part of the LGBT community and this has made me really nervous now. I couldn't breathe and I was having panic attacks.

"After it happened I took my Pride flag off and put it in my bag. 

"We want to get this out there that homophobia is still a very real problem in a city like Stoke-on-Trent. It's really shaken us up."

Her 16-year-old friend, who had just attended her first Pride event, said: "My friends got in the taxi and these people started shouting horrific comments.

"There was about 12 of them and seven of us – four in the taxi and three walking. It was a mix of girls and boys.

"They started running after the taxi and the driver stopped. They then pulled open the passenger doors and repeatedly punched my friend.

"I saw it all happen, it was horrendous. Another of my friends was trying to get them off the taxi and they were hit too.

"We didn't even know them although my friend recognised one of them from school.

"They were calling us 'gay c***s' and other horrible names. One of my friends got a fat lip after being hit in the face but luckily he didn't need to go to hospital.

"The injuries were only minor but the emotional damage was awful. We're all scared now.

"We go to Hanley quite a lot but we're worried that they'd recognise us. None of my friends have been through anything like this before.

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"We're told that the YMCA's CCTV cameras captured some of what happened."

Staffordshire Police said the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

A spokesman said: "We received a report of hate crime, which had taken place on Harding Road in Hanley.

"A group of teenagers were verbally abusive, making several homophobic comments to another group. A teenager was also punched and kicked.

"If you were in the area at the time or have any information in relation to this incident please call us."

A recent study found that reports of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes such as violent assault, stalking and harassment have more than doubled in England and Wales over five years.

The Guardian analysis found the rate of LGBT hate crime per capita rose by a staggering 144 per cent between 2013-14 and 2017-18.

West Yorkshire saw the biggest increase in reported hate crime – increasing by 376 per cent from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018.

The rates trebled in Yorkshire and the Humber, and the South East, the study found.

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