A Hove man’s racist and homophobic outbursts have spurred Sussex Police to cite his case as the force urges people to report hate crimes.
Stuart Robe, also known as Stuart Fergusson Robe, shouted a stream of racist abuse at 36-year-old Flamenco singer Abraham De Vega who was out with his young son.
Robe, 41, of Brunswick Place, Hove, was standing outside a pub in Farm Road, Hove, when he shouted, among other things, “You weren’t born in England like I am.”
Sussex Police said: “The father felt embarrassed and wanted to protect his child from such abuse.”
Mr De Vega, 36, spotted two passing police officers – PC Georgina Edge and PC Sarah Laker – and told them about the outburst.
They arrested Robe who then hurled homophobic abuse at PC Edge, a charge he later admitted in court.
And in Dyke Road, Hove, he assaulted both officers, and admitting attacking them – in the execution of their duty – when he appeared before Brighton magistrates.
He also pleaded guilty to causing Abraham De Vega racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress, having used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.
Robe was sentenced to 10 days of “rehabilitation activity” and 40 hours of unpaid work.
He was ordered to pay £50 each in compensation to the father, for the racially aggravated offence, and to the two officers for assaulting them.
The bench ordered Robe to pay £85 towards the cost of bringing the case, making £235 in total.
The offences took place on Sunday 8 July in Farm Road, Hove, with Robe sentenced at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 9 August.
Sussex Police highlighted the case in support of Hate Crime Awareness Week which runs from tomorrow (Saturday 13 October) until next Saturday (20 October).
The force said: “We will be sharing real life experiences of victims of hate crime to help increase public confidence in the police and to indicate that we will always deal with reports of hate with empathy and professionalism.”
The aims include encouraging people to report hate crimes, raising awareness of what hate crime is, giving support to victims, their families and communities – and “dealing with perpetrators appropriately”.
Mr De Vega said: “I felt frustrated. I bring my child up to do the right thing and be a good person. I do not expect them to have to witness such awful behaviour against us.
“The police were fantastic, really professional. They kept me updated throughout the case.
“If I was subjected to such behaviour again, or if I witnessed someone else being targeted in the same way, I would make a stand and report it.
“It is important to report so the police know what is going on. I would tell other people to report such behaviour too.”
Superintendent Ed De La Rue, who leads on hate crime for Sussex Police, said: “It takes courage to report any crime but especially one that is an attack on your very identity such as hate crime.
“We are working hard to ensure our response to crimes reflect the victim’s needs as well as the modern world and our priorities to you, the public.
“No one should have to live in fear and be targeted just for who they are. We actively encourage reporting of hate crime and incidents so that we can support individual victims but also because the more we understand what is happening and where, the better we can prevent other offences occurring.
“We also want to bring perpetrators to justice, sending a clear message that it is not acceptable to threaten, intimidate, offend or abuse anyone for an aspect of their personality. We will take all reports seriously.”
Hate crime can be reported to us by calling 101 – or 999 in an emergency.
Sussex Police added: “We have also been working with Brighton and Hove Buses to support their own hate crime campaign in the city.
“This is a good example of secondary reporting methods where the victim has the option of whom to talk to.”