In two separate cases of homophobic bashing in Perth, two gay men were lured through a dating app to a construction site and attacked by a group of men. One of the victims, in his 50s, said he was attacked with a baseball bat, and had to spend four days in hospital with a broken jaw and a fractured skull. The other victim was in his 40s.
Update: Armadale Detectives said they have arrested and charged a man in connection with both incidents and are looking for other accused.
“A 26-year-old man from Gosnells has been charged with two counts of intent to harm and causing bodily and one count of stealing. He has also been charged with other drug offences, which are unrelated to the two assault incidents,” the police said.
The accused appeared in a Perth Magistrates Court on April 3, 2021, and is due to re-appear in the Armadale Magistrates Court on April 23, 2021.
“Armadale Detectives are investigating two serious assaults that are linked to the use of an online messaging application. Both victims, a man in his 40s and a man in his 50s, communicated with someone via the same messaging application and arranged to meet at an address in Gosnells,” Western Australia Police Force’s Media unit said in a statement.
“The house was under construction and there were several men there. In each instance the victims were assaulted,” the police said.
The 57-year-old victim told media that one of the attackers told him “we’re going to teach you a lesson.” Another attacker swung at him with a baseball bat.
The police are asking anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity in Margaret Street at the time of the attacks or has dash-cam footage of the area at the time or has any information about the incidents to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at www.crimestopperswa.com.au.
“Detectives would like to remind the public it is important to be vigilant when it comes to personal safety and the risks associated with meeting strangers in isolated areas after engaging with them,” the police said.
Police have urged that if there was anyone else who has been a victim of a similar attack, they can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. The WA police have also pointed to their resource for advice on online dating.
This is not the first incident of homophobes using online dating apps for gay bashing. In February 2020, an elderly gay man in South Australia was lured by a 21-year-old using a fake Grindr account. The victim was taken to a Murray Bridge home, and was subjected to torture by a ‘horrifying array of weaponry’ including a gas lighter and electric drill.
In New South Wales, three 17-year-old boys are set to face trial later this year for the murder of a 56-year-old Canberra man Peter Keeley. One of the teenagers had communicated with Keeley on the gay dating app Grindr, before they met and allegedly brutally murdered him.
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.