A dad forced his 15-year-old son to strip to his underwear then lashed him with a television cable, telling him he was ‘gay’ and ‘a woman’.
The man in his 40s in Plymouth, south west England, launched the attack after discovering the teen had joined gay dating app Grindr.
He whipped him about 20 times – leaving him with scars and likely long term ‘psychological consequences’.
Plymouth Crown Court heard how the boy escaped the family home and broke down in tears at school.
The judge said that the father making him strip to socks and underwear made the injuries worse. Moreover he said it added to the teenager’s degradation, Plymouth Live reported.
‘He hit him multiple times’
Crown Prosecution Service barrister Francesca Whebell explained the teen was ‘exploring his sexuality’.
However she said that when his dad borrowed his son’s phone, he spotted some of the photos on it.
Whebell said he confronted his son. The teen tried to dismiss the photos and left to see a friend.
However his father confronted him again, when they were alone, early next morning. He then told him to take his pyjamas off, leaving him in just underwear and socks.
Whebell said: ‘He 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.’
The teenager then asked his father if he could go and get a glass of water. But instead he picked up his school uniform and fled the house. He found a place to change before going to school.
School staff spotted something was wrong and he broke down in tears, explaining what had happened. They then called the police.
‘Moment of madness’
The father had pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm on 30 September last year.
However, his lawyer argued the attack wasn’t homophobic.
Indeed Kevin Hopper, for the defendant, described him as a ‘loving father’.
He claimed the father wasn’t hostile to his son’s sexuality, saying he had been ‘supportive’.
And he added: ‘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.’
Hopper described his client as a hard-working man who spent long hours away from home to support a large family. Meanwhile his wife was in court to support him and wrote a character reference.
‘Cruel and brutal punishment’
However Recorder Marcus Pilgerstorfer jailed the man for 18 months. 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: “You are gay” and “you are a woman”.
‘You shouted: “What’s that between your legs?”’
The judge added: ‘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.’
We cannot name the father in order to protect his son’s identity.
Help is out there
Domestic abuse is surprisingly common and is never the victim’s fault.
If you are in immediate danger or an attack is ongoing, call the emergency services if it’s safe to do so.
At other times, you can find out more about how to escape domestic abuse here – including how to help friends.
Meanwhile, there’s a list of LGBT+ resources and helplines all around the world here. Please note, some of the helplines may have different operating hours during the pandemic.