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A British man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for attacking his son after discovering Grindr on the boy’s phone.
The man, who is in his 40s and from the English city of Plymouth, beat his son so severely that the youth will likely be left with scarring, PlymouthLive reports.
In sentencing him, the judge called the attack “cruel and brutal punishment…motivated by his sexuality” and rejected the father’s defense that he was “loving,” “supportive,” and that the attack was a “moment of madness.”
Plymouth Crown Court heard that the father began the attack after asking to use the boy’s phone, where he discovered gay dating app Grindr and indecent images of the boy, who was 15 at the time of the attack, which occurred last year.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service, the father questioned the boy about the images, before attacking him with a television cable the next morning.
He ordered his son to remove clothing, leaving the boy in just his underwear and socks. He then “hit [the boy] multiple times across his body, particularly his arm, breaking the skin there,” prosecutor Francesca Whebell said. “While he was beating his son, the defendant was continuing to ask questions.”
The father asked his son about the photos on his phone and shouted, “You are gay,” and “You are a woman.” He also shouted, “What’s that between your legs?”
In total, the youth was struck with the cable around 20 times during the attack, which only relented after he asked his father if he could get some water.
The boy then grabbed his school uniform and fled the house, finding somewhere outdoors to get dressed.
Once at school, Whebell said the boy broke down in front of school staff and told them what had happened. The father was subsequently arrested and pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm.
The boy said that the attack had left him in “loads of pain,” and Whebell said that it occurred while the boy was “exploring his sexuality.”
The boy’s father, whose identity was withheld in order to protect his son’s privacy, attempted to argue that the attack wasn’t motivated by sexuality.
Instead, his lawyer argued that it was a result of finding the indecent images on his phone, describing the man as a “loving father.”
“It was not the images nor anything else which made him question his son’s sexuality. He had been supportive,” lawyer Kevin Hopper said. “The fact that he has now lost contact with his own son has broken his heart. The remorse he has shown is genuine.”
Hopper said that the man was supported by his wife, who supplied a character reference, adding that the attack was “a moment of madness. He lost his temper.”
But Recorder Marcus Pilgerstorfer, who sentenced the man to 18 months in prison, rejected the argument that the attack wasn’t motivated by sexuality.
“In my judgement, this cruel and brutal punishment was motivated by his sexuality, or your perception of his sexuality,” Pilgerstorfer said.
He noted that forcing the boy to remove his clothes had worsened the damage caused by the cable, adding, “On the basis of the photographs, he is likely to be left with some scarring on his arm and he will inevitably suffer some psychological consequences.”
“You asked him about photographs of lots of boys on his phone and shouted: ‘You are gay’ and ‘you are a woman,'” Pilgerstorfer said. “You shouted: ‘What’s that between your legs?’
“You hit him again and again, some 20 times, with the television cable. You caused him ‘loads of pain’, to use his words,” he continued.
“I have no doubt that part of the reason you became angry is that you saw material which you thought indicated he was bisexual.”
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