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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Couple say they have been left feeling "frightened" in their own home - after homophobic slurs and threats of violence from buil

Credit: SWNS STUDIO
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Couple say they have been left feeling 'frightened' in their own home - after homophobic slurs and threats of violence from buil
Couple say they have been left feeling "frightened" in their own home - after homophobic slurs and threats of violence from buil

Police are investigating footage of a gay couple apparently being subjected to homophobic slurs, songs and threats of violence from builders working next door.Chris Copley-Hammond and his husband John, both 49,  say they have been left frightened in their own home by the workmen.They said it stared with "the odd comment" from builders working on a new housing development since May last year.But they say it escalated over the last few months from a construction crew working on scaffolding which overlooks John and Chris' garden.These comments have included homophobic slurs such as "fags" and "fudge" - short for the derogatory term "fudge-packer".But the verbal abuse came to a head last week when Chris filmed the builders singing along to Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called To Say I Love You" on the radio.But instead of singing the actual lyrics, some of the builders loudly sang, "I just called to say I'll bum you" - as Chris and John were out on their patio, right below the scaffolding where the builders worked.After laughing loudly at their lyrical amendment, one of the builders can then be heard calling to another: "Yeah, get some fudge."And on Monday, when John went outdoors to ask the builders in Stroud, Glos., about some cement that had been thrown on to the couple's patio, the builders began to hurl abuse at him.They deny the accusations but launch into a foul-mouthed tirade calling John a "f***ing idiot", a "dirty little pervert" and a "paedophile."One then tells him: "Come out the front then" and while holding a brick adds: "I'll smash one of these through your window you c**t .

F***ing p***k."F***ing filming me you dirty little paedophile.

You pervert."John then tells the group he is going to press charges but is targetted with further abuse.One of the builders then labels him a "f***ing bummer."The victim then films the cement covering his garden furniture and table and labels them a "disgrace" while vowing to get them all fired.He adds: "This is a homophobic hate crime and you are doing to go down."Property developers Bales Homes Ltd.

Have apologised for the "regrettable" incident - and say the individuals involved were subcontractors and have been removed from the site.And John and Chris, who have two primary-school aged sons, have reported the builders to Gloucestershire Police, who confirmed it was investigating.John said: "We've been left really frightened.

I wasn't sure whether to report it to the police, but it is a hate crime.

We can't live like this in our own home."And Chris added: "To have to put up with this in our own garden is just not on."It's really quite upsetting - we're both 49 years old now, but we were both bullied at school, and it does bring up those feelings again. "A lot of the comments they have made are ridiculous homophobic things that were said as slurs in the 70s."To hear stuff like that in this day and age is just unbelievable.

It's quite pathetic, really."The couple believe that the intimidation has built up as a result of them opposing a proposed change by property developers Bales Homes to increase the height of the 12 houses in the new development.John said: "Us and all the neighbours got together and challenged it at a meeting in February this year."And ever since then, it's all just really escalated in terms of the intimidation, and has obviously reached a crescendo in the last week."We're just annoyed that nothing has been done about any of this intimidation, or to stop the comments."Chris said that it was "upsetting" that this has happened - after he and John moved to Stroud eight years ago because of its reputation as an "accepting" town.He said: "We have felt very welcomed and very accepted here, it is a great community on the whole."We founded the first Stroud Pride group three years ago, and it was fantastic.

We got a great reception."So for something like this to now happen is quite upsetting."Siobhan Baillie, Conservative MP for Stroud, said the abuse John and Chris have been subjected to is "unacceptable".She said: "In the 21st century it is unacceptable that this sort of homophobic abuse is still in our society."No-one should have to put up with it, particularly not in their own home.  The law protects gay people from such abuse. "I hope the police will thoroughly investigate what has happened, and if they find sufficient evidence an offence has been committed they should ensure charges are brought."Gloucestershire Police said: "We received a report of homophobic comments being made towards a couple in Stroud. "We have spoken to the victims and are currently investigating."We take all incidents of hate crime seriously and will investigate to ensure offenders are dealt with appropriately and victims are given a voice."Lee Bales, managing director of Bales Homes, has apologised for the "regrettable" incident.He said: "Bales Homes are very sorry this has happened.

It's a regrettable situation and we feel sorry that the situation arose in the first place."Unfortunately the individuals involved were subcontractors."As soon as we were informed as to what was happening, we complained to the Director of the subcontracting company and had the individuals removed from the site."Bales Homes have taken this complaint very seriously as the views expressed are not our own, and we will make sure it doesn't happen again."Bales Homes declined to reveal the name of the subcontractors.

Police are investigating footage of a gay couple apparently being subjected to homophobic slurs, songs and threats of violence from builders working next door.Chris Copley-Hammond and his husband John, both 49,  say they have been left frightened in their own home by the workmen.They said it stared with "the odd comment" from builders working on a new housing development since May last year.But they say it escalated over the last few months from a construction crew working on scaffolding which overlooks John and Chris' garden.These comments have included homophobic slurs such as "fags" and "fudge" - short for the derogatory term "fudge-packer".But the verbal abuse came to a head last week when Chris filmed the builders singing along to Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called To Say I Love You" on the radio.But instead of singing the actual lyrics, some of the builders loudly sang, "I just called to say I'll bum you" - as Chris and John were out on their patio, right below the scaffolding where the builders worked.After laughing loudly at their lyrical amendment, one of the builders can then be heard calling to another: "Yeah, get some fudge."And on Monday, when John went outdoors to ask the builders in Stroud, Glos., about some cement that had been thrown on to the couple's patio, the builders began to hurl abuse at him.They deny the accusations but launch into a foul-mouthed tirade calling John a "f***ing idiot", a "dirty little pervert" and a "paedophile."One then tells him: "Come out the front then" and while holding a brick adds: "I'll smash one of these through your window you c**t .

F***ing p***k."F***ing filming me you dirty little paedophile.

You pervert."John then tells the group he is going to press charges but is targetted with further abuse.One of the builders then labels him a "f***ing bummer."The victim then films the cement covering his garden furniture and table and labels them a "disgrace" while vowing to get them all fired.He adds: "This is a homophobic hate crime and you are doing to go down."Property developers Bales Homes Ltd.

Have apologised for the "regrettable" incident - and say the individuals involved were subcontractors and have been removed from the site.And John and Chris, who have two primary-school aged sons, have reported the builders to Gloucestershire Police, who confirmed it was investigating.John said: "We've been left really frightened.

I wasn't sure whether to report it to the police, but it is a hate crime.

We can't live like this in our own home."And Chris added: "To have to put up with this in our own garden is just not on."It's really quite upsetting - we're both 49 years old now, but we were both bullied at school, and it does bring up those feelings again.

"A lot of the comments they have made are ridiculous homophobic things that were said as slurs in the 70s."To hear stuff like that in this day and age is just unbelievable.

It's quite pathetic, really."The couple believe that the intimidation has built up as a result of them opposing a proposed change by property developers Bales Homes to increase the height of the 12 houses in the new development.John said: "Us and all the neighbours got together and challenged it at a meeting in February this year."And ever since then, it's all just really escalated in terms of the intimidation, and has obviously reached a crescendo in the last week."We're just annoyed that nothing has been done about any of this intimidation, or to stop the comments."Chris said that it was "upsetting" that this has happened - after he and John moved to Stroud eight years ago because of its reputation as an "accepting" town.He said: "We have felt very welcomed and very accepted here, it is a great community on the whole."We founded the first Stroud Pride group three years ago, and it was fantastic.

We got a great reception."So for something like this to now happen is quite upsetting."Siobhan Baillie, Conservative MP for Stroud, said the abuse John and Chris have been subjected to is "unacceptable".She said: "In the 21st century it is unacceptable that this sort of homophobic abuse is still in our society."No-one should have to put up with it, particularly not in their own home.

The law protects gay people from such abuse.

"I hope the police will thoroughly investigate what has happened, and if they find sufficient evidence an offence has been committed they should ensure charges are brought."Gloucestershire Police said: "We received a report of homophobic comments being made towards a couple in Stroud.

"We have spoken to the victims and are currently investigating."We take all incidents of hate crime seriously and will investigate to ensure offenders are dealt with appropriately and victims are given a voice."Lee Bales, managing director of Bales Homes, has apologised for the "regrettable" incident.He said: "Bales Homes are very sorry this has happened.

It's a regrettable situation and we feel sorry that the situation arose in the first place."Unfortunately the individuals involved were subcontractors."As soon as we were informed as to what was happening, we complained to the Director of the subcontracting company and had the individuals removed from the site."Bales Homes have taken this complaint very seriously as the views expressed are not our own, and we will make sure it doesn't happen again."Bales Homes declined to reveal the name of the subcontractors.

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