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Gay couple beaten by gang in 'terrifying' homophobic attack in Essex

"We had our heads stamped on by them. It was horrible."

2021-10-13

Words: Alastair James; picture: Dan Wilson and Rob Morris

A couple believed they were going to die when they were violently attacked by five men in a homophobic attack in Essex last weekend.

Dan Wilson and Rob Morris were metres from their home in Basildon when the attack took place at around 1am on Sunday (10 October 2021). Morris was dressed in drag at the time after being at Colours nightclub.

The pair were shouted at before being physically attacked.

"It was horrible"

Speaking to the Basildon Canvet Southend Echo, Wilson, 36, said it was "terrifying" and that they didn't know if the gang had weapons on them.

"We’re covered in cuts and bruises, and I’ve got cracked ribs," he said. "Rob came off worse, we had our heads stamped on by them. It was horrible. We’re so grateful for the couple who stepped in to help. They prevented it getting any worse.

"This kind of thing just shouldn’t be happening. Basildon is meant to be promoting the LGBT community."

The pair took themselves to A&E after the assault and were discharged Sunday. The couple claim that police failed to respond despite them calling 999 five times. They were eventually visited by police on Monday (11 October) and police are investigating. 

Wilson's father, Dave Wilson, said he was "completely lost for words" and called the attackers "disgusting."

He added: "The police need to catch them and make sure [they're] punished."

A statement provided to the Echo by Essex Police confirmed they were investigating. Addressing claims officers responded in an untimely manner, a rep said: "A number of factors could impact on our ability to respond including the number of incidents taking place within the district, or within the county, that require a high level resource.

"There may also be a large number of emergency calls that officers are attending. At the time this incident was called into us, all our available officers were deployed elsewhere."

The force recently revealed that hate crimes in the area have risen by 27% on last year, with more than 4,800 such offences recorded in 2021. This includes offences motivated by disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or gender identity. 

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