Muggers Sentenced for Robbing, Attacking UK Gay Man
Two Yorkshire men have been sentenced to jail this week after they robbed and pushed a man into a dangerous river because he is gay, the U.K. newspaper the Hull Daily Mail reports.
Kallum Crosby, 20, and Jamie Norris, 22, attacked the victim, who remains anonymous, on Jan. 7, after following him as he left a gay bar.
Upon accosting the victim, Norris went through the victim's pockets while Crosby yelled anti-gay slurs. The man was then knocked to the ground and pushed into the River Humber, in Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, England. The duo then bragged about the incident to a worker at a fast-food restaurant, confessing to her that they carried out the crime because the victim is gay.
The victim was trapped in the thick mud of the river but was able to call for help on his cell phone and was freed.
During the court hearing at Hull Crown Court, Judge Mark Bury told the men they could have killed the victim.
"I have suffered sleepless nights. The next day I was still in shock at what might have happened," the man said in a statement that was read at Hull Crown Court. "I cannot stop thinking, what if? What if they had taken the telephone? I have suffered from sickness and for the first time in five years, I have had to take time off work."
The Hull Daily Mail says the court heard the Humber is one of most dangerous tidal estuaries in the world, with people who fall in expected to die within just ten minutes. When the victim was pushed in, it was only 44 degrees and he could have contracted hypothermia.
"He could not move his feet and was covered in thick mud. It was dark and he was alone and he did not know where he was," Prosecutor Philip Standfast said. "He saw both of the defendants were laughing at his predicament. He called police and the emergency services were fortunate in being able to find him in the dark and extract him from the mud."
The victim suffered cuts and bruises and was treated at Hull Royal Infirmary. Meanwhile, Crosby, who was released from prison the day before the incident, and Norris, a father of two, went to a fast food joint. Standfast says Crosby told the a female employee that "they had just pushed a man in the river because he was gay."
"The assistant at first thought they were joking, but saw they had mud on their clothing," Standfast added. "They said they had left him in the river and did not know if he had drowned. Crosby said they weren't bothered. The woman asked him his name and he told her and said he had just been released from prison."
The men both admitted to attempted robbery.
"If the tide had been in he would have been underwater. You could see the situation he was in, but you both ran off laughing. You made no effort to help him," Judge Bury said. "You could easily be facing a homicide charge. He was targeted because of his sexuality."
The chairman of the LGBT Forum in Hull and East Yorkshire, said these kinds of anti-gay crimes still occur.
"It is sickening and appalling what has happened to this man. There is no room for their sickening attitudes in our modern society," Andy Train told the Daily Mail. "Unfortunately, this isn't a rare case - I have a friend who is a transgender woman in Hull who reports regularly on her Facebook page about the abuse she receives."
Crosby was sentenced to four-and-a-half-years in prison while Norris was sentenced to three-years and nine-months.