Shields Gazette wins praise from gay community

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 school boy.

Last month the paper overturned a reporting restriction at South Tyneside Youth Court in order to name Darren Murray, who had led a gang of three thugs that attacked a 15-year-old boy because he was gay.

The gang repeatedly punched their victim and bent him backwards over a over some railings and kicked him between the legs while shouting homophobic abuse at him.

Murray was given a 12-month detention and training 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 online gay newspaper PinkNews.co.uk praising it for fighting to identify the Murray.

Marc Shoffman, the news editor at PinkNews, 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 civilized society, attacks such as this will not be tolerated or go unpunished.

"We will continue to challenge courts to let us name these offenders, who would rather their crimes remain shrouded in secrecy when they have no right to deserve such protection."

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