The Two Brewers Double Arsonist

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Jason Fossett | Press Association | 17147

Jason Fossett has been jailed for life after setting fire to a busy south London gay bar, the Two Brewers in Clapham, for the second time.

Fossett piled rubbish against the fire exit of  before setting it alight and fleeing on March 20. He pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life at Inner London Crown Court. He could not remember starting the fire after “having a couple of drinks”.

He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum sentence of three years and 244 days.

He was traced through his bank card after CCTV footage showed him buying two drinks at the bar on the night of the arson.

Officers searched his home and found receipts from the Two Brewers for that night, and a red leather satchel which matched that seen on the CCTV.

In 2004, Fossett was jailed for eight years for targeting the same venue in an arson attack. Police said there was no suggestion the attacks were hate crimes, although Fossett’s motivation is not known.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/man-jailed-for-life-for-setting-fire-to-busy-clapham-gay-bar-a-second-time-a3605851.html

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The Orlando shooting

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On June 12, 2016, at around 2 am, security guard Omar Mateen walked into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and killed 49 people, taking hostages, and injuring 53 others. He was shot dead by Police when a SWAT team ended the incident at around 5.00 am.

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Phelan M Ebenhackz, Associated Press/CNN | 16236 gh

Three of the injured casualties were Police.

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Vigils were held by the gay community around the world in response to the outrage, including in London’s Old Compton Street.

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Yui Mok/Press Association | 16231ga

The LGBT Community Center of Central Florida provided grief counselling for the survivors. A victims’ assistance center was opened at Camping World Stadium.
Facebook activated its “Safety Check” feature in the Orlando area following the attack, allowing users to mark themselves as “safe” to notify family and friends—the first use of the feature in the United States.

Following the shooting, gay pride festival organizers made plans to mark the outrage in their Pride Marches, and increase the security of Pride events.

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Vienna | C Bruna/Picture Alliance/DPA | 16234viega

In Vienna around 130,000 people turned out for the Rainbow Parade. A minute’s silence was held before the festivities got underway. The march was led by a black-clad group called “Victims of Hate Crimes – Marching for those who can’t,” holding a rope around a space where normally a float full of dancers would be, representing “those lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender and inter-sex people who lost their lives in Orlando and who can’t be marching with us”.

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Omar Mateen | 16238gh

More information will be added to this article when available.

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Paul Broussard

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The murder of Paul Broussard took place in Houston, Texas in 1991.

A gang of 10 teens and young men were arrested in the beating and stabbing death of Paul Broussard, whose killing galvanized the local gay community and prompted protests.

Jon Buice and the others, from the Houston suburb of The Woodlands, drove into the city on July 4, 1991, looking for homosexuals to harass.

They spotted Broussard, 27, and two friends walking not far from a gay nightspot. The ten got into a fight with the three.Broussard’s friends escaped.

Buice, then 17, stabbed the man to death. He pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Four of the others arrested in the death were also sent to prison while the other five received probation.

Buice has now been granted parole, although has not at the time of writing been released. Buice’s parole bid has been championed by Houston gay-rights advocate Ray Hill, who had called public attention to Broussard’s death and helped send Buice to prison. Hill has previously said Buice is no longer a danger to society.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/parole-granted-for-man-convicted-in-1991-slaying-of-gay-texas-man/

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Stephen Port – The Barking Murders, 2014

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Stephen Port | 16284ga

This post was updated on 14 May 2017.

Stephen Port, 40, who was alleged to have murdered four men he had met over gay websites and who were later found dead in an east London graveyard, first appeared in court on 19 October 2015.

Port appeared at Barkingside Magistrates Court charged with four counts of murder and four counts of administering a poison with intent to endanger life between last June and September this year. He was sent for trial at the Old Bailey.

The four men were found dead in the churchyard at St Margaret’s Church, in North Street, Barking. All had died from an overdose of the drug GHB allegedly administered by Port.

Anthony Walgate, 23, a second year art, fashion and design student at University of Middlesex and originally from Hull, was found dead in the early hours of June 2014 in Cooke Street, Barking, a short distance from the church. Gabriel Kovari, 22, from Deptford, was found in August by a member of the public who also found the body of Daniel Whitworth, 21, from Gravesend, Kent, in September in the same part of the churchyard. Jack Taylor, 25, from Dagenham, was found near the Abbey Ruins, in September this year, just 300 yards from where Mr Kovari and Mr Whitworth were found.

His trial was held at The Old Bailey in November 2016.

Port was found guilty on 23 November 2016. He has been found guilty of the murders of four young men using fatal doses of date rape drug GHB.

He was also found guilty of the murders of Anthony Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and 25-year-old Jack Taylor.

He was also convicted of four rapes, four assaults by penetration and ten counts of administering a substance with intent.

Port was sentenced on 25 November 2016. He will spend the rest of his life in prison for the murders of four young gay men. Victims’ relatives cheered and clapped as Mr Justice Openshaw told Port he would never be released, and one woman in the public gallery of the Old Bailey courtroom called the impassive Port a “scumbag”.

Port stalked his victims on dating websites like Grindr and plied them with drinks spiked with fatal amounts of the drug GHB. He then raped them while they were unconscious, and dumped their bodies in or near a graveyard within 500 metres of his flat in Barking, east London.

Then he embarked on an elaborate cover-up, disposing of their mobile phones, repeatedly lying to police and even planted a fake suicide note in the hand of one of his victims, taking the blame for the death of another of his victims.

Port was found guilty of the murders after a jury deliberated for 28 hours and 27 minutes. He was also convicted of a string of sex offences against seven other men who came forward following his arrest.

A man in the public gallery shouted at Port: “I hope you die a long slow death you piece of s–t.”

UK police are reviewing the deaths of dozens men who used sex-enhancing drugs, amid concerns that cases previously dismissed as drug overdoses may be further victims of serial killer Stephen Port.

The Metropolitan Police Service told CNN they had identified at least 58 deaths from poisoning by the date rape drug GHB between June 2011 and October 2015 — the period in which Port carried out his crimes.

“It is not known if these deaths were related to chemsex activities. In many cases police involvement was limited with the matter dealt with by the coroner,” a police spokesman told CNN. “A review of these deaths is now under way to establish any suspicious circumstances.”

In May 2017 it was announced that 17 members of the victims’ families are suing the Metropolitan Police, claiming that officers discriminated against their relatives because they were gay. They allege there were “breaches of duty and inaction” and accuse the force of breaching the Equality Act 2010, of negligence, and misusing or abusing their power by failing to properly investigate; and are seeking “aggravated and exemplary damages” in excess of £200,000.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/23/serial-killer-stephen-port-guilty-date-rape-drug-deaths-three/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/25/serial-killer-stephen-port-handed-whole-life-term-murder-four/

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/man-poisoned-four-people-he-met-on-gay-dating-websites-a3093841.html

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/24/europe/stephen-port-serial-killer-investigation/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/grindr-stephen-port-scotland-yard-met-police-homophobia-serial-killer-a7734031.html


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Cairo court rejects gay bathhouse case in a single minute

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An image from Egyptian satellite channel Al-Qahira wa al-Nas shows journalist Mona Iraqi, (right) photographing men arrested during a police raid on a public bathhouse in Cairo, December 2014 | 15004

A Cairo court took just one minute on 12 January 2015 to acquit 26 men who had been accused of “debauchery” in a rare victory for Egypt’s gay community that has of late faced an increasingly oppressive police crackdown. The defendants had faced between 1-9 years in prison on varying degrees of “debauchery”. Homosexuality is not technically illegal in Egypt, where the police and courts have a history of persecuting the gay community. The role of state media and journalists, is particularly shameful.

As the defendants were marched into court chained hand-to-hand, they desperately attempted to hide their faces with scarves or their shirts, whatever was at hand. Family members grew angry at the sight of cameras, afraid that the faces of their sons or brothers would be broadcast on television and publicly identified.

In fact, they already had. Among all the various cases of police arresting Egyptian gay men, what makes this one particularly notable is how the police raid of the bathhouse, on Dec. 7, 2014, unfolded as television cameras rolled.

The Egyptian journalist who organized that shoot, Mona Iraqi, described the bathhouse as “the biggest den of perversion in the heart of Cairo.”

It was that context of intolerance that had tempered the expectations of defense lawyers and human rights activists observing the trial.

“There was no evidence,” defense lawyer Islam Khalifa told CBS News on Monday. “But in this country there are always no expectations.”

That Monday’s ruling went they way it did surprised many observers. “It’s unprecedented,” said longtime human rights activist Scott Long. “This just doesn’t happen.” The session lasted barely a minute — just enough time for the judge to do a roll-call of the defendants’ names before uttering a single word: “innocent.”

Source Code CBS


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Charlotte and the Angels of America

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Fort Worth Opera in a performance of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America” opera version, 2008 | Ellen Appel | 14042

The Levine Museum of the New South, in Charlotte, N.C., recently unveiled a history exhibit, “LGBTQ Perspectives on Equality” to tell the history of Charlotte, N.C.’s, gay and transgender community. 18,000 same-sex couples call the state home, including 2,000 in the Charlotte area, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

The exhibition casts fresh light on the “Angels of America” controversy.

In 1996 a brouhaha erupted when some county officials objected to gay themes presented in a local performance of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Angels in America.” The controversy led to a vote in 1997 to restrict funding to the Arts & Science Council. The move gave the city a reputation for being intolerant.

Bob Barret, a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, took a high-profile stand for the gay community during the “Angels in America” affair, helping to create an organization called Citizens for Equality, which staged a defiant news conference on the steps of City Hall.

“I don’t know that it changed anything, but we were visible and saying, ‘We don’t like what’s going on,'” says Barret, who had challenged the Observer’s coverage of the gay community as far back as 1992, when he met with editors at the newspaper. “The media didn’t have a clue who gay people are, because people weren’t willing to stand up. Once we started to do that, attitudes changed fairly quickly. Still, there were death threats, and awful stuff was sent in the mail to me. And stuff was left on my car. People in charge at the university told me, ‘You need to be very careful. People are watching you, waiting for you to make a mistake.'”

University of North Charlotte Multicultural Resource Center | 14043

Book shop proprietor Sue Henry was perhaps the city’s most high-profile LGBT representative of the ’90s, and was the first openly gay candidate for mayor of Charlotte, in 1995.

Her store, Rising Moon Books & Beyond, became a meeting place for gays and lesbians during the “Angels in America” controversy, with groups gathering among the books to make placards for their demonstrations. She likens it to the city’s first LGBT community center. It closed in 1997. Henry was also involved in bringing the annual North.Carolina gay and lesbian pride event to Charlotte in 1994, which she says made local gays and lesbians aware of “what we can do when we came together.” “I don’t feel especially brave. Maybe I’m stubborn,” says Henry, who currently lives in Greenville, N.C. “For the first couple of years I had the bookstore, I would go in expecting the windows to be broken out by a brick, but it never happened. It’s that worry, that fear, that often stops the LGBT community.”


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The John West Murder Case

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Gwynne Owen Evans (left), 24, and Peter Anthony Allen, 21. Prison Service Photos/Liverpool Echo | 14044

On 7th April, 1964, two unemployed men, who could not afford to pay £10 in court fines imposed on them for earlier thefts, murdered a man. Peter Allen, age 21, and Gwynne Evans, age 24, drove to the home of John West, age 53, a laundry van driver of Seaton, Cumbria.

Evans left Allen in the car while he tried to persuade Mr West to give them £10 in return for sex. Mr West declined. Evans went back to the car and fetched Allen. West saw Allen and asked him, “Who the bloody hell are you?” When Allen did not answer, West made a lunge at him. Allen panicked and hit West. Then Evans battered West with a bar.

Mr West’s battered and stabbed body, which was naked from the waist down, was found by Police one day later – 8th April, 1964. Police found Evans’ rain coat at the scene, and identified it as belonging to Evans when they found in one of the pockets, a medallion bearing Evans’ name.

Each man blamed the other for the violent murder.

Mr Justice Ashworth sentenced them both to death.

Their defence teams appealed. Lord Chief Justice Lord Parker, Mr Justice Winn and Mr Justice Widgery rejected the appeals of Allen and Evans, with the Lord Chief Justice saying: “A more brutal murder it would be difficult to imagine.”

Both Allen’s and Evans’ mothers petitioned then Home Secretary Henry Brooke for clemency. Clemency was not forthcoming.

Evans was hanged at Strangeways Prison, Manchester, by executioner Harry Allen (no relation) while Allen, who had trashed his cell when he realised that clemency was not forthcoming, was hanged at Walton Jail, Liverpool, by executioner Robert Stewart. Both men were hanged at exactly 8.00 am on August 13th, 1964.

In 1964 in Britain, homosexuality between men was illegal.

On 15th October 1964 Britain had a General Election which was won by the Labour Party. The incoming government had a reforming agenda and the death penalty for murder was temporarily suspended for a trial period by the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965. The Act did not suspend the death penalty for other offences, which included espionage and piracy.

On 16th December 1969, Parliament reviewed the temporary suspension and voted to end the death penalty for murder by an overwhelming majority: 343 in favour, 185 against, a majority of 158.

At that point Evans and Allen went into the history books because they became the last people in Britain to be hanged. The case became known as the Allens and Evans case and their victim West became completely forgotten.

£10 may not seem like much money in 2014, but in 1964 it was more than the average basic weekly wage.

The death penalty was finally abolished in the United Kingdom in 1998 by the Human Rights Act and the Crime and Disorder Act.


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Dublin: The Fairview Park Murders and the Declan Flynn murder case

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Fairview Park Protest March photographed on Amiens Street, Dublin by Derek Speirs, courtesy “Out For Ourselves” (Womens Community Press, 1986) | Irish Queer Archives/Come here to me | 14074

In 1982 during the summer a series of systematic beatings was carried out in Fairview Park, Dublin. Gay men used the park as a meeting place and for cruising. On September 10, the gang attacked 31-year-old Aer Rianta worker Declan Flynn. One of the gang was used as ‘bait’ and when Flynn sat down next to him on the bench, the other four rushed out from behind trees.

Their victim managed to run towards the gate and the main road but did not get out of the park in time. They kicked and beat him with sticks and left Declan Flynn lying on the path choking on his own blood. He died within an hour of admission to Blanchardstown Hospital.

Mr Flynn, living in a country where and when homosexuality was illegal, was not out to his family.

Fairview Park, Dublin | Google Maps | 14075

His attackers were 19 year old Tony Maher, 18 year old Robert Armstrong, who were both members of the Air Corps, 18 year old Patrick Kavanagh, 17 year old Colm Donovan and a 14-year-old boy. “We were all part of the team to get rid of queers in Fairview Park,” Armstrong later said.

In March 1983, in court, Justice Sean Gannon gave them suspended sentences for manslaughter and allowed the five to walk free. “This,” he said, “could never be regarded as murder.”

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Gaire.com | 14076

The ruling caused outrage – as did the judge’s comments that the so-called vigilantes were “cleaning up the area” – and became the catalyst for Ireland’s fledgling gay rights movement, leading to the foundation of the main gay organisations in the Republic of Ireland.

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How the US Civil Service tried to expel gays

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Charles Francis and some of the documents he uncovered | Stephen Crowley/The New York Times | 14094

Charles Francis has been digging in the US archives and making freedom of information requests to discover the methods used by the US Civil Service to rid itself of gays.

Days after President Lyndon B. Johnson’s election to his first full term, an administration official asked a subordinate to explain the policy on firing gays. In particular, he wondered whether someone with a history of gay liaisons could, through years of marriage, be “rehabilitated” into a trustworthy civil servant.

The response came quickly, and in language that would be shocking by today’s standards. Technically, rehabilitated gays could keep their jobs. But John W. Steele, a staff member of the Civil Service Commission, which handled personnel matters for the government, said that seldom happened.

It was November 1964. Four months earlier, the president had signed the landmark Civil Rights Act banning discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex and national origin. The policies laid out in Mr. Steele’s memo would continue for more than another decade.

As we all know, FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover imparted two obsessions into the FBI he headed: an obsession with communists, and an obsession with homosexuality. Under the “Sex Deviate program” the F.B.I. collected information on people suspected of being gay. They passed it on to government agencies and when it suited them, newspapers. Informants, including doctors, helped alert the FBI to what was seen as a growing national security threat.

Excellent article.

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