Scottish Police have confirmed that they are investigating the assault and robbery of a gay couple on a busy Edinburgh street on the evening of Friday July 30, 2021 as a hate crime.

Detective Inspector Mark McGraw confirmed that the assault was being treated as a hate crime via a written statement: “We understand hate crimes can have a huge impact on those targeted, and an attack on people because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race or beliefs, is not only abhorrent but will not be tolerated.”

Witnesses have described how four men punched, kicked and spat on the victims leaving them in a pool of blood, before stealing a bag and fleeing the scene at around 9.20pm on Friday. The victims were a married gay couple in their 30s and one of the couple was hospitalised after the attack for his injuries.

Unprovoked Attack

“The boys were laughing, egging each other on and calling the victims poofs,” one eyewitness told Edinburgh News.

“It was unprovoked entirely – the men did not fight back, they only tried to defend themselves.” They went on to say how both men were left “trembling” in the aftermath of the attack. “The victim came straight over, thanked me and I asked if he was okay. There was blood on the ground,” they added. “He burst into tears, and I held him as he sobbed so hard into my chest.”

With footage of the attack having since been shared online, posts have surfaced on social media describing how some on-lookers not only failed to stop and intervene but were witnessed laughing as the men were being beaten.

Another witness has told the Daily Record that they were crossing the road where the assault took place, that as they were looking at the ground “suddenly there was glass everywhere, a man on the ground with four other assailants surrounding him kicking and punching.”

“When I spoke to the victim afterwards, he told me one minute he was speaking to a woman about doing motivational speeches and next thing he was being assaulted. It was unprovoked entirely”.

‘Not The First Homophobic Attack This Year’

Following of the sickening attack, many were quick to express their outrage including openly gay Edinburgh Council Leader, Adam McVey, tweeted “Horrific to hear of homophobic robbery & assault on a gay couple.” Adding that “Edinburgh is a Proud & safe city, but this should worry us all. This isn’t the first violent, homophobic attack this year, my thoughts are with the victims this morning. We need to work together as a city to stamp out all root causes of hate.”

Founder of Scottish inclusive education charity, Time for Inclusive Education Jordan Daly similarly wrote “Horrifying. This is why deciding to hold hands, or kiss, or cuddle in public is often accompanied by fear, and feels like a risk assessment. This is why whipping up prejudice against minority communities is dangerous. I hope the perpetrators are found.”

Police have urged anyone who might have information or know the identity of the four men, described as in their 20’s to come forward.

“The investigation into an assault and robbery against two men on Leith Street, Edinburgh on Friday 30 July is ongoing and being treated as a hate crime…  Anyone who was in the Leith Street area of Edinburgh at around 9.20pm on Friday, 30 July, and may have information that could assist with our enquiry is urged to contact Police Scotland, quoting reference number 3663 of 30 July.”


If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.



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