Hate crime victim: Ian Baynham
London, which is regarded as one of the world’s gay capitals, has seen a 28 percent increase in anti-gay incidents.
The London Evening Standard reports that 1,545 homophobic incidents in the city were reported to officers last year. Racist crimes, a reported 10,268 cases, increased by seven percent.
The figures were released by Dee Doocey, a Liberal Democrat member of the Metropolitan Police Authority.
“These figures are clear evidence of a very disturbing rise in hate crime. I am especially concerned about the huge rise in homophobic incidents,” said Doocey.
“Some of the rise may be down to an increase in reporting of incidents, but I fear this may not be the full explanation. It seems only now that we are starting to discover the real numbers of such serious offences.”
He also revealed that in nine boroughs of London the current year has already seen more anti-gay incidents than in the entire previous year.
In January, 18-year-old Ruby Thomas and 20-year-old Joel Alexander were convicted on charges of manslaughter and jailed for seven and six years respectively after drunkenly killing 62-year-old Ian Baynham in September 2009.
Baynham was walking with a friend in Trafalgar Square when he was attacked by the two. He suffered a fractured skull and brain damage when he collapsed on the pavement after being knocked unconscious by a punch from Alexander, while Thomas shouted homophobic slurs.
A third attacker, 18 year old Rachael Burke, was found guilty of lesser crime and jailed for two years.