Two women in Leighton Buzzard say they are being hounded by a group in the community because they are LGBT, we can reveal.
Naomi Janes and her wife Emily live in Oatfield Gardens and say their lives are being made a misery by a family targeting them on a regular basis, shouting ‘dyke’ and other vitriolic abuse.
Having complained unsuccessfully to the housing officer and anti-social behaviour team of Central Bedfordshire Council, the women say the abuse has worsened to the point of physical violence.
On Sunday, June 11, Emily was pushed to the ground and kicked twice in the face by one boy. And ten days later, Naomi took a full punch to the face from another.
“He didn’t knock me down,” said Naomi. “At the end of it, I looked back at him and said, ‘I’m still standing’.”
In spite of reporting both incidents to the police, no arrests have been made.
Naomi said: “We’re getting to the point now where we just don’t know what else to do, we’ve got no support.
“I’m a gentle giant, I’m 36 and I’ve never hit anybody. My dad taught me that and I’ve lived my life by it.”
On June 21, Naomi came down to confront a group of youths that had gathered outside their home. As she tried to ward them off, she claims the group began filming her in distress shortly before the punch took place.
She said: “The officer that came that day was lovely. He calmed me down and he understood what was happening, but we’re not getting anywhere.
“They can stand there and film somebody having a meltdown outside their home. That seems to be allowed but where do we stand? And why should we have to move?”
In addition, Naomi says a woman has driven her car at the couple several times, stopping “just inches away” in an effort to intimidate them.
A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said: “Officers are investigating reports of an alleged hate-related assault in Oatfield Gardens, Leighton Buzzard.
“At around 7pm on Wednesday (21 June) an altercation occurred between two women during which one of the women was allegedly assaulted.
“It is believed the incident is linked to an ongoing dispute between neighbours where the victim feels she is being targeted because of her sexuality. The investigating officer has met with the victim and is pursuing several lines of enquiry.
“PCSOs have been patrolling the area to reassure the community and the force’s hate crime lead Sergeant James Hart will review and monitor the incident as is the process for all hate crimes in the county.
“Bedfordshire Police takes all reports of hate crime and hate incidents very seriously, as we know what a devastating effect it can have on victims. Anyone who is being targeted because of some aspect of their identity, or presumed identity, is encouraged to report it.”
A CBC spokesman added: “Central Bedfordshire Council takes all matters of alleged anti-social behaviour or hate crime extremely seriously and is working closely with the police and the couple to ensure that they are supported. At this time we are unable to comment further on this specific case.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference JD/26518/2017. Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.