Birmingham Man Jailed for 10 Years for Hate Crime

 A DRINKER who launched a frenzied attack on a gay couple who popped into his local pub – leaving one needing reconstructive facial surgery – has been jailed for 10 years.

A jury at Birmingham Crown Court today (Feb 24) took less than an hour to find Ben Martin (pictured) guilty of the homophobic attack at the Lady Westminster in Olton Boulevard East, Acocks Green, last May.

CCTV footage showed Martin, who lived close to the pub, kicking one of his victims in the face and leaving him with a shattered jaw and a fracture that ran from his chin to his eye socket.

The 30-year-old required extensive surgery but is expected to eventually make a full recovery; his 21-year-old partner suffered cuts and bruises and had teeth knocked out during the assault.

Martin denied wounding with intent – however he is now beginning a 10-year prison sentence after the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict on the charge.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Surinder Nota, said: "This was a vicious assault and one which was motivated by homophobia; one of his victims suffered very serious injuries but thankfully he is well on the road to recovery.

"Hate crime will not be tolerated in the West Midlands by our communities, the courts or the police. This is a very strong sentence which rightly reflects the gravity of the attack."

The court heard how Martin began hurling insults and homophobic taunts at the couple and their family on the evening of Friday May 27 and, when the pair left, he followed them outside.

The older man – who was living in Acocks Green at the time of the incident – was shoved to the ground and then kicked in face. Surgeons later inserted metal plates into the man's face in order to realign broken bones.

Local enquiries by detectives in the weeks after the attack led to information suggesting Martin had been involved in a fight – he was arrested on September 1 and charged with wounding and assault.

DC Nota, added: "Martin was part of a group of men numbering four or five individuals – they were involved to a much lesser extent with Martin the lead aggressor. He was described in court as the 'ring leader'.

"He admitted punching the couple but denied kicking one of them in the face which delivered the most serious injuries – however his actions were caught on CCTV camera footage.

"Martin also denied his actions were prompted by homophobia but witnesses describe him hurling a barrage of insults at the pair and also making offensive gestures."