Grandmother Elvira Baptiste has been jailed for a sustained campaign of harassment against her gay neighbours, which forced them to move out of their home.
Baptiste, 64, appeared at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (15 December), when she was jailed for 16 weeks for harassment over several months, the Bristol Post reported.
The mother-of-ten denied the charge of harassment without violence but was found guilty after a trial in November.
The court heard that Baptiste displayed offensive posters, repeatedly played the song “Boom Bye Bye” by Buju Banton, which has violently homophobic lyrics, and shouted abuse at her next-door neighbours Dean Griffiths and Andrew Knight.
The gay couple have since moved out of the property in Redfield, Bristol.
Alison May read a statement from Mr Griffiths, which said: “She has made our lives misery. She seems to be watching us all the time and has put posters up in her window.
“We can not use our garden as it feels like she is watching us. I am not sleeping very well and our relationship is suffering.
“We loved the flat but, within a week, we know we would have to move out because of her behaviour… Her behaviour has caused us to move out, which shows how much it affects us.”
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Ms May said the two victims moved into the property in early 2020 and that the harassment began in May, when next-door neighbour Baptiste shouted at them, “You stupid f**king queer.”
She also alleged that Elvira Baptiste also told the couple they were disgusting, that they should be with a woman rather than a man and that no one wanted them to live there.
By August 2020, Baptiste had been arrested.
Her defence, Sarah Turland, told the court: “This isn’t someone who regularly appears before the courts and she has not had similar problems with other neighbours. She is at very low risk of re-offending.”
Sentencing Elvira Baptiste to 16 weeks in prison, Judge Matthews said: “As a mother of ten and a grandmother of more than 20 children, I would expect you to understand the importance of people’s mental health and how to respect people.”
The harassment case comes as it was found the number of anti-gay hate crime reports in the UK has tripled over the last six years.
Data obtained by Vice World News shows there were 6,363 reports of hate crimes based on sexual orientation in 2014-15, compared to 19,679 in 2020-21, a total increase of 210 per cent.
Only ten out of the 45 UK police forces recorded a decrease in hate crime, and the vast majority of those who provided data had seen a year-on-year rise in hate crime reports since 2014.
Leni Morris, chief executive of LGBT anti-abuse charity Galop added that “90 per cent of hate crimes against LGBT+ people go unreported”.
“These figures only represent a tiny part of the overall amount of abuse and violence faced by the LGBT+ community in the UK today,” she said.
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