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Gay couple 'frightened in own home' after homophobic abuse from builders next door

·3-min read

Police are investigating allegations of homophobic abuse after a gay couple said they were subjected to threats of violence from builders working next door.

Chris Copley-Hammond and his husband John say they have been left frightened in their own home by the workmen, who were on site at a new housing development in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Chris Copley-Hammond and husband John say they have been left frightened in their own home by the workmen. (SWNS)
Chris Copley-Hammond and husband John say they have been left frightened in their own home by the workmen. (SWNS)

The couple, both 49, say the abuse started with "the odd comment" from builders, but that it has escalated over the last few months from a construction crew working on scaffolding which overlooks the couple’s garden.

They say the verbal abuse came to a head last week when Chris questioned the workers about some cement that he alleges had been thrown on to the couple's patio.

Video footage filmed by Chris allegedly shows the builders launching into a foul-mouthed homophobic tirade after they denied throwing the cement.

The argument continues for several minutes before Chris informs the men that he is going to press charges for the “homophobic hate crime”.

Chris Copley-Hammond filmed his argument with the builders working at the house next door. (SWNS)
Chris Copley-Hammond filmed his argument with the builders working at the house next door. (SWNS)

John and Chris, who have two primary-aged sons, reported the builders to Gloucestershire Police, which has 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."

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 the intimidation has built up as a result of them opposing a proposed change by property developer Bales Homes to increase the height of the 12 houses in the new development.

Siobhan Baillie, Conservative MP for Stroud, said the abuse John and Chris have been subjected to is "unacceptable".

Chris Copley-Hammond accused the builders of throwing cement into his garden. (SWNS)
Chris Copley-Hammond accused the builders of throwing cement into his garden. (SWNS)

She added: "No one should have to put up with it, particularly not in their own home. The law protects gay people from such abuse.”

Lee Bales, managing director of Bales Homes, has apologised for the "regrettable" incident – and said the individuals involved were subcontractors who have now been removed from the site.

He added: "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."

Gloucestershire Police confirmed they had “received a report of homophobic comments being made towards a couple in Stroud”, adding: "We have spoken to the victims and are currently investigating."

Bales Homes declined to reveal the name of the subcontractors.

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