Society 13/10/2021

Three years in prison for harassing a gay couple for months: "I'll slit your throats"

Man threw stones at one of the victims and at the house they lived in

2 min
The demonstration in Barcelona against the fatal attack on Samuel, in Galicia, in an archive image

BarcelonaA gay couple of Vilanova i la Geltrú was forced to endure repeated cries of "faggot" and threats like "I'll slit your throats", as a neighbour constantly harassed them between April and June 2018. The agressor even threw stones at one of the men. Luckily, he missed. He also threw stones against the windows of their house and tore out their light fuses. Now a court has sentenced the homophobic aggressor to three years in prison. The sentence also prohibits him from approaching the victims for two years and requires him to compensate the victimes with €4,000,

According to the ruling, the first attack was recorded in April 2018. The convicted man cornered one of the victims against a wall and, with the intention of cowing him, threw several stones at him – none of them hit the man – while insulting him.. They did not cross paths by chance; the aggressor knew that the victim had just withdrawn money from a cash point. "Come on, I'll steal everything you have, I'll steal your wallet, give me the money," he shouted at him.

A few days later he threw stones at the window of the home where the couple lived, while shouting homophobic abuse at them. He also ripped out the fuses of the electricity meter, while shouting at them that the next day they would have to use "candles".

The judge stresses that the threats and insults became a constant and that they took place every time the convicted man passed the couple in the street or rode his bicycle past their house. "I will kill you", he would tell them as he spat at them. The harassment generated a situation of "nervousness and discomfort" for the couple, who suffer from a mental disability and ended up leaving their home out of fear.

Aggravating circumstance of discrimination

The defence of the accused argued that one of the victims had a bad relationship with an aunt of his and that the insults and threats were part of the convict's colloquial language, who used them "in a natural way" in his environment. But the judge dismissed this reasoning and rules that in this case the aggravating circumstance of homophobic discrimination is unequivocal, because the expression "faggot" is in itself a "disparagement" towards the couple's sexual condition.

According to the sentence, when he insulted or threatened the victims, the man had every intention of denigrating them because they were "a same-sex couple". "The death threats and intimidating expressions [...] are not the result of a spontaneous reaction or a punctual moment, but are made with the serious, express and unequivocal intention of attacking the physical integrity and the life of the complainants," the judge stresses.

As he sees a risk to the victims, in addition to the prison sentence the judge has issued a restraining order for five years so that the defendant cannot come within 500 meters of the couple. The sentence is not final and can be appealed.