A MAN who verbally assaulted hotel staff has been sentenced by a court.
Joshua Wilcock subjected a member of the staff at the Holiday Inn Express in Barrow to homophobic abuse and cursed other workers.
The 25-year-old admitted two charges of using threatening and abusive words during his appearance in South Cumbria Magistrate’s Court.
The court heard that the incident took place at the Market Street Hotel on May 23.
The magistrates ruled that the offense was aggravated because of the sexual orientation of the victim, because homophobic language was used depending on the perception of the victim’s sexuality.
The court sentenced Wilcock, of Duke Street in Barrow, to a 12-week community order requiring him to adhere to a curfew between 4 p.m. and 7 a.m. each day.
The sentence was increased by eight weeks due to the homophobic nature.
His conviction came as new figures showed homophobia was behind one in five hate crimes recorded in Cumbria last year.
LGBTQ + charities are calling for action to protect the community, as hate crimes based on sexual orientation have nearly doubled in the past five years in England and Wales.
Home Office data shows Cumbria police recorded 124 homophobic and biphobic hate crimes in the year through March, 25 down from the previous year.
This means that a person’s sexual orientation was a motivator in 18% of the 681 hate crimes recorded in Cumbria last year.
The Home Office said that while the main factors behind the increases were improved police records and the victims’ increased willingness to come forward, the government “could not be complacent”, and a new hate crime strategy will be released this year.
Charity Stonewall says the true scale of hate crimes against LGBTQ + victims may be much higher, due to many unreported incidents.
Robbie de Santos, director of communications and external affairs, said the numbers must be a wake-up call to tackle LGBTQ + hate crimes.
He said, “From ensuring that LGBTQ + hate crimes are properly recorded and prosecuted within the criminal justice system, to training police forces to understand LGBTQ + hate crimes and supporting victims. and survivors, it is essential that we all do more to address violence and hatred directed against LGBTQ + people.
A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “All forms of hate crimes are totally unacceptable.
“The cowards who commit them must feel the full force of the law.”