A 26 year-old man has been arrested in connection to what has been described by the authorities as a possible homophobic hate crime which took place in the early hours of Tuesday morning in Lurgan, Co Armagh.
A spokesperson for the PSNI stated, “Shortly after midnight, it was reported that a number of persons were in a house in the area when an altercation occurred. One man then left the property before returning with a second male, they then threatened two males and assaulted them with a tyre iron. The suspects then left in a black Audi car and made off towards the William Street area.
“Two males were treated for injuries which are not thought to be serious. Damage was caused to the front door and the hallway of a property in the area. One man was later arrested on suspicion of threats to kill and aggravated burglary with intent to commit grievous bodily harm. He remains in police custody at this time.
“At this stage, one line of enquiry is that this may be a homophobic hate crime. Enquiries are continuing.”
The PSNI are appealing to anyone who witnessed the incident or who may have any information to contact them.
If the attack is proven to be a homophobic hate crime, it will be the second such attack in Northern Ireland in a week. In the previous incident, Liverpool based couple Emmett Doherty and Luke Bromilow were visiting Derry over the weekend. Around Saturday night and into the early hours of Sunday morning, they were on their way back from socialising with friends in the city centre when they witnessed men hurling abusive language at a group of women.
Fearing for the women’s safety, the couple intervened in the confrontation, as detailed by Emmet. He reportedly told the men, “Don’t speak to a woman like that”. Following this, the couple were subjected to a barrage of homophobic slurs before being viciously assaulted.
The couple sustained various facial, head and body injuries. Emmet has been treated for a broken nose among other injuries due to the attack. Regarding his partner’s condition, he stated, “Luke is absolutely terrified, he wanted to go back early. He won’t leave the house. He is absolutely traumatised. It’s just disgusting.”
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