A teenage son was forced to strip to his underwear and whipped 20 times by his father when the parent discovered the son`s use of the gay dating and hookup app Grindr, Plymouth Crown Court was told. Using a TV cable, the whipping left visible scars and likely psychological damage. The attack occurred after the father, in his 40s, borrowed the son`s phone and saw the app and the teenager’s photos on it. Crown Prosecution Service barrister Francesca Whebell told the court in South West England that the teen “was exploring his sexuality.”
The father confronted his son who tried to dismiss it and went to see a friend. Early next morning the father cornered his son when alone. He told the teenager to remove his pyjamas, leaving him in his underwear and socks. The father then “hit him multiple times across his body, particularly his arm, breaking the skin there. While he was beating his son, the defendant was continuing to ask questions” Whebell told the court. The teenager asked his father if he could go and get a glass of water. But instead he collected his school uniform and fled the house. He found a safe place to change before going to school. School staff noticed that something was wrong and he broke down in tears, explaining what had happened. The school then called the police.
The father had pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm on 30 September last year. His solicitor Kevin Hopper tired to argue that the attack wasn’t homophobic and that the defendant was “a loving father.” He denied that the attack was motivated by the teen`s sexuality. “It was not the images nor anything else which made him question his son’s sexuality. He had been supportive. ‘It is difficult to mitigate saying that he is a loving family, but this is a moment of madness. He lost his temper. The fact that he has now lost contact with his own son has broken his heart. The remorse he has shown is genuine.” The solicitor told the court the defendant was supported by his wife who had written a character reference.
Recorder Marcus Pilgerstorfer jailed the man for 18 months. Summing up he said :‘In my judgement, this cruel and brutal punishment was motivated by his sexuality, or your perception of his sexuality. ‘On the basis of the photographs, he is likely to be left with some scarring on his arm and he will inevitably suffer some psychological consequences. ‘You asked him about photographs of lots of boys on his phone and shouted vicious abuse. Continuing, the judge said ‘You hit him again and again, some 20 times, with the television cable. You caused him “loads of pain”, to use his words. ‘I have no doubt that part of the reason you became angry is that you saw material which you thought indicated he was bisexual.’
The man cannot be named for legal reasons in order to protect the teenager`s identity.
Domestic abuse has been on the rise during lockdown, but support is available. If there is immediate danger or attack and it is safe to do so, call the Police. For longer term support contact Galop . If you are under 26, Allsorts offers support and connections.
All these places below can also offer confidential LGBTQ+ advice and support if you or someone you know is suffering domestic abuse from a family member or loved one.