Couple abused in London

A gay couple subjected to a tirade of abuse for holding hands in the street have voiced fears over a rise in homophobia in London. Chris Withers and his partner were told “disgusting people like them are not welcome in the capital” while walking near Charing Cross after a night out at a jazz club.

The lighting designer, who lives in New Cross, south London, described how their “drunken” attacker hurled homophobic insults at them in Villiers Street at 2am.

“It was all very puerile and childish. I turned round and, rightly or wrongly, said it really wasn’t acceptable behaviour and at that point he started tailing us over the Jubilee footbridge and along the South Bank.” Mr Withers added that he did not expect to face such a tirade of abuse in the capital.