Did you witness homophobic hate crime?

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Police are treating an incident in which a gay couple and their friend were verbally abused as a homophobic hate crime.

Detectives say an 18-year-old woman and her partner, 19, were leaving Sankey Valley Park with a male friend, 21, at about 8pm last Monday (August 4) when they were verbally abused by three youths.

The incident happened on Bradlegh Road, Newton-le-Willows, and the two boys and one girl are described as being between 10 and 13 years old.

One of the boys is described as white, aged 11 or 12, about 4ft tall. He had black cropped hair and was wearing a dark blue polo shirt and dark blue denim jeans.

The second boy was about 10 years old. He is described as white, about 4 feet tall, he had short, dark spikey hair and was wearing dark blue denim jeans and a baggy white T-shirt.

The girl is described as white and aged 12 or 13. She was approximately 4ft tall with long ginger hair worn in pigtails. She was wearing a white dress with a floral pattern.

A man also joined the group to verbally abuse the trio as they walked along Tyrer Road.

He is described as white, approximately 30 years old and about 5ft 9ins tall. He had very short, almost shaven black hair and was wearing a light blue baggy denim jeans, a tight-fitting white Adidas T-shirt and was sporting a long silver necklace.

DC Michelle Cliffe, of St Helens CID, said: “This was a deeply upsetting incident for the woman and her friends. When they decided to leave the park and remove themselves from the situation, the youths followed and continued with the abuse.

“When the man approached them from the direction of Tyrer Road, the victim attempted to explain the situation to him. He wasn’t interested in what she was telling him and he continued with the verbal abuse.”

Anyone with information about this incident can call police on 0151 777 6811 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.