Two gay men beaten and robbed in Edinburgh city centre street in suspected homophobic attack
Two gay men in their 30s were assaulted and robbed by a group of thugs in a city centre street during a suspected homophobic attack.
The incident happened in Leith Street, near to the John Lewis department store, at around 9.20pm on Friday in front of shocked onlookers.
One eye-witness who contacted police said they saw a group of four men, thought to be in their early 20s, punching, kicking and spitting on a man on the ground before stealing a bag and running off in the direction of the Omni Centre.
It is understood the two victims are a married gay couple and that one of them has been receiving hospital treatment for their injuries.
Police are investigating the hate crime element and have appealed for anyone with information about the incident to come forward.
Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News, the eye-witness said they were left “trembling” in the aftermath of the attack on Friday night. They added: “The victim came straight over, thanked me and I asked if he was okay. There was blood on the ground. He burst into tears and I held him as he sobbed so hard into my chest.
“He told me he did not know why they did it to him.”
The victim told the witness that he and his husband had been speaking to a woman about motivational speeches before being suddenly assaulted.
The witness added: “It was unprovoked entirely - the gay men did not fight back, they only tried to defend themselves.
“The boys were laughing, egging each other on and calling the victims p**fs. Another girl (at the scene) heard them say p**fs explicitly.”
The witness said no one tried to intervene - and drivers failed to stop - during the incident but said they could understand why, having personally been assaulted on a previous occasion when they tried to step in to stop an unprovoked attack.
But the witness was shocked to see some people standing by and laughing about what was happening, which triggered them to start photographing and video recording the scenes.
The images from the scene appear to show a group of men attacking another man on the ground in Leith Street.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "We received a report of an assault and robbery against two men on Leith Street, Edinburgh, around 9.20pm on Friday, 30 July.
"Both men - aged 33 and 30 - weren't seriously injured. Enquiries are ongoing. Anyone with information should contact Police Scotland via 101 quoting incident number 3636 of 30 July."
*The identities of suspects in photographs published in newspapers are concealed for legal reasons under the Contempt of Court Act 1981. Witnesses must be able to come forward and identify suspects without being influenced by what they see in the press. Any publication which identifies the faces of suspects can therefore create a substantial risk of seriously prejudicing legal proceedings. This could result in the collapse of a court case.*