Peacehaven man jailed for homophobic hate crime

Two men who threatened their victims with a claw hammer and made homophobic comments towards them in Eastbourne have been jailed.

Simon Young, 40, of Jevington Gardens, Eastbourne, and Gary Barney, 39, of Sutton Avenue, Peacehaven, were sentenced to five and a half years imprisonment when they appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Monday (January 20).

The court heard that two men were walking to the Wish Towers Slopes on the seafront at around 1am on July 16 last year, when they were approached by Young and Barney.

They threatened the pair with a claw hammer and demanded cash and their mobile phones.

Young and Barney made homophobic comments towards them and punched one of them in the face.

They then forced them to start walking back to their home with the intention of stealing property from them. But the victims managed to get away.

Young was convicted of possession of an offensive weapon, kidnap, attempted robbery and assault.

Barney was convicted of kidnap and attempted robbery.

After the case, detective constable Karen Colbran of Sussex Police said: “This was an extremely traumatic experience for the two men who were put in fear of their lives.

“The sentence sends out a clear message that hate crime in whatever form will not be tolerated.”

If you are a victim of any form of hate crime, come forward and report it. Contact police on the non emergency number 101. In an emergency call 999.