Police probe ‘disgraceful’ footage of builders yelling tirade of homophobic abuse at gay couple in their garden – after they complained about height of building to developer Bales Homes Ltd
- Chris Copley-Hammond and his husband John, both 49, were subjected to abuse
- Builders working on a development beside their home screamed abuse at them
- Police have now launched a probe and the contractors have been taken off site
A gay couple have captured disturbing footage of a team of builders screaming homophobic abuse at them in their garden.
Chris Copley-Hammond and his husband John, both 49, claim the workmen began shouting slurs at them after they started on the development in May last year.
But they say the builders, who are working from scaffolding overlooking their garden in Stroud, Gloucestershire, have now left them ‘frightened in their own home.’
Property developers Bales Homes Ltd apologised for the ‘regrettable’ incident and confirmed the individuals involved were subcontractors, and have since been removed from the site.
Gloucestershire Police has also launched an investigation after the couple – who have two primary-school aged sons and founded the local Pride group – reported the incident.
John (left) and Chris Copley-Hammond have been subject to homophobic abuse from contractors working on the building development beside their home
John Copley-Hammond filmed in his back garden as builders sang homophobic lyrics. Right, the workers – though it is unclear who was behind the abuse
Comments have included homophobic slurs such as ‘f**s’ and ‘fudge’ – short for the derogatory term ‘fudge-packer’.
On Monday, when John went outdoors to ask the builders about some cement that had been thrown on to their patio, the builders began to hurl abuse at him.
They deny the accusations but in the video can be heard calling John a ‘f***ing idiot’, a ‘dirty little pervert’ and a ‘paedophile.’
One then tells him: ‘Come out the front then’ and while holding a brick adds: ‘I’ll smash one of these through your window you c**t. F***ing p***k.
‘F***ing filming me you dirty little paedophile. You pervert.’
John then tells the group he is going to press charges but is targeted with further abuse, as one of the builders labels him a ‘f***ing b***er.’
The victim then films the cement covering his garden furniture and table and labels them a ‘disgrace’ while vowing to get them all fired.
He adds: ‘This is a homophobic hate crime and you are going to go down.’
John said: ‘We’ve been left really frightened. I wasn’t sure whether to report it to the police, but it is a hate crime. We can’t live like this in our own home.’
Chris added: ‘To have to put up with this in our own garden is just not on. It’s really quite upsetting – we’re both 49 years old now, but we were both bullied at school, and it does bring up those feelings again.
‘A lot of the comments they have made are ridiculous homophobic things that were said as slurs in the 70s. To hear stuff like that in this day and age is just unbelievable. It’s quite pathetic, really.’
The couple believe the intimidation built up as a result of them opposing a proposed change by Bales Homes to increase the height of the new houses.
John said: ‘Us and all the neighbours got together and challenged it at a meeting in February this year.
‘And ever since then, it’s all just really escalated in terms of the intimidation, and has obviously reached a crescendo in the last week.
‘We’re just annoyed that nothing has been done about any of this intimidation, or to stop the comments.’
Chris added: ‘We founded the first Stroud Pride group three years ago, and it was fantastic. We got a great reception. So for something like this to now happen is quite upsetting.’
The contractors at work on the development in Stroud. It is not clear whether the comments were made by more than one of the builders
Siobhan Baillie, Conservative MP for Stroud, said: ‘In the 21st century it is unacceptable that this sort of homophobic abuse is still in our society.
‘No one should have to put up with it, particularly not in their own home. The law protects gay people from such abuse.
‘I hope the police will thoroughly investigate what has happened, and if they find sufficient evidence an offence has been committed they should ensure charges are brought.’
Gloucestershire Police said: ‘We have spoken to the victims and are currently investigating. We take all incidents of hate crime seriously and will investigate to ensure offenders are dealt with appropriately and victims are given a voice.’
Lee Bales, managing director of Bales Homes, said: ‘Bales Homes are very sorry this has happened. It’s a regrettable situation and we feel sorry that the situation arose in the first place. Unfortunately the individuals involved were subcontractors.
‘As soon as we were informed as to what was happening, we complained to the Director of the subcontracting company and had the individuals removed from the site.
‘Bales Homes have taken this complaint very seriously as the views expressed are not our own, and we will make sure it doesn’t happen again.’
Bales Homes declined to reveal the name of the subcontractors.
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