Shields Gazette praised for naming teen prosecuted for homophobic attack

The Shields Gazette has been applauded by the gay community after winning the right to name a 16-year-old boy who violently assaulted a homosexual schoolboy.

The paper overturned an automatic Section 49 order at South Tyneside Youth Court in order to name Darren Murray, who had led a gang of three thugs who attacked a 15-year-old boy because he was gay.

They repeatedly punched him and bent him backwards over some railings and kicked him between the legs while shouting homophobic abuse at him.

Murray was given a 12-month detention order and will spend six months in a young offenders institution.

The Gazette has received emails from gay people in the community as well as from gay news website PinkNews.co.uk praising it for fighting to identify Murray.

News editor at PinkNews Marc Shoffman said: "Well done to The Shields Gazette for following this case and successfully arguing in front of magistrates that homophobic bullies should not be protected by the law.

"The only way to overcome this issue is better protection in schools and a brave commitment from the wider community, both homosexual and heterosexual, to name and shame those persecuting others just because they don't agree with their lifestyle."

Gazette editor John Szymanski added: "Hate crimes such as these do need to be highlighted to show small-minded bigots that in a civilised society, attacks such as this will not be tolerated or go unpunished."

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