Gay couple told to ‘burn in hell’ as they walked down the street holding hands

A gay couple were told to "burn in hell" and called "disgusting" during a violent city centre homophobic attack.

David Bailey, 18, and Ashley Roberts, 19, have been put behind bars after they punched and kicked a gay couple near Piccadilly Station.

During the vile attack the gay couple were subjected to a torrent of abuse and were told they would "burn in hell" for their sexual orientation.

The pair were also called “disgusting” and, after being followed to the station, were told to give one of the boys £20 or “I will kill you.”

Manchester Crown Court heard one of the victims had been working at a bar in Piccadilly Gardens when his partner joined him during the early hours of August 3 last year.

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As the pair walked towards Piccadilly Station, they were targeted by a group of people and after going to the Spar shop in the area, were followed.

The couple then came across Bailey and Roberts, who were with others, and the couple were subjected to homophobic abuse such as "you will burn in hell," and "it’s disgusting."

Judge Suzanne Goddard QC said: "They were perfectly entitled to walk as they were, hand in hand.

"Your behaviour was wholly unacceptable that night."

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Soon after, demands for money were made, and both men were attacked, with punches and kicks being thrown.

The four heard minor injuries were inflicted, with one man’s glasses and mobile phone damaged.

Greater Manchester Police were then called and the court heard Bailey and Roberts were both apprehended.

Defending Roberts, Paul Bryning said the defendant "didn't start" the incident but accepted involving himself in it.

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Mr Bryning said Roberts was 18 and "young and immature" at the time, and that alcohol was a factor.

He said: “He is appalled at what he has done.

“He is clearly somebody who doesn’t think when in drink.”

Representing Bailey, Harriet Tighe said he is remorseful for his actions and that he has abstained from alcohol since the incident.

The judge said it was a “great shame,” that Bailey, who had a full time job, had allowed himself to become involved.

Both Bailey and Roberts pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted robbery.

Manchester Crown Court sentenced the pair to 32 months each in a young offender’s institution.

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