Now Reading
Lesbians punched and kicked in unprovoked homophobic attack in England

Lesbians punched and kicked in unprovoked homophobic attack in England

a couple standing together smiling at the camera

A lesbian couple has spoken out about a horrific attack they say was homophobic and left one of them in hospital.

Three men allegedly kicked and punched Lauren Heeks, 22, and Jade Vernalls, 25, in the central English town of Worcester. Since 2015, the region has experienced a rise in hate crimes. In 2016, police received reports of 18 people homophobic assaults.

The men started shouting at the couple couple outside the Asda supermarket in the early hours of Saturday morning (15 September).

Heeks replied ‘what’s your problem?’ to the shouting men and before they knew it they men had descended on them.

‘It all happened so fast. They started hitting me and then my partner stood in front of me, trying to defend me,’ Heeks told the Worcester News.

‘She got kicked in the face and I also got kicked two or three times in the face and punched four times as well.’

The attack left Vernalls with a swollen eye. Heeks had bruising on her face and chest where the men had allegedly kicked her.

‘We believe this was a homophobic attack. We’re clearly a lesbian couple. There was no other reason for them to come out of nowhere and attack us in that way,’ Heeks said.

Appeal for witnesses

The day after the attack Heeks visited her local emergency room to treat severe pain. Doctors gave her painkillers and sent her home.

The attack clearly shocked Heeks, but she said was more angry the men attacked her girlfriend.

‘My partner said “what are you doing?” so they kicked her as well and carried on attacking me,’ she said.

Once Vernalls started to call police the men ran away from the scene.

‘I wasn’t so bothered they did it to me. It was more that they did it to her. We believe it was an unprovoked, homophobic assault,’ Heeks said.

Police are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information can call the West Mercia police.

Thanks for the support

Heeks took to Facebook to thank the community’s response to the alleged attack.

‘The support has been completely overwhelming and I honestly don’t have enough words to say how much we appreciate it,’ she wrote.

‘This isn’t going to effect who we are and how we are and we hope that this hasn’t knocked anyone else’s confidence being out and about on the streets with their partners.

‘Jade has honestly been my rock… she has amazed me how strong and brave she is and how much she’s prevented me from crumbling. She’s honestly amazing and I thank my lucky stars every day to have someone as special as her as my girlfriend!’

More from Gay Star News

Gay man bashed with bikechain and his sister punched for defending him

Man suing Sydney police for assault was ‘punched twice’ during Mardi Gras

NYC gay man called ‘fruitcake’ and punched in homophobic attack