Metro Weekly

Gay elementary school teacher ’emotionally drained’ after more than 70 attacks on home

Antonio Silvestri and his husband say they've endured almost daily attacks on their home

teacher, gay, attack, homophobia. england

Photo: Tim Arterbury / Unsplash

A British gay couple say they’re “emotionally and psychologically” drained after enduring months of homophobic attacks on their home.

Since April this year, elementary school teacher Antonio Silvestri, 49, and his partner David Bennett, 47, say they have been subjected to almost daily attacks on their property which they believe to be rooted in homophobic attitudes.

Their home in Caterham, in the English county of Surrey, has been the target of ball bearings and projectiles which have smashed windows and gutters, and caused intense psychological distress for the couple.

Silvesti told SurreyLive that “the psychological impact has been enormous” and “it is very draining, emotionally and psychologically, but we are not at the point where we are going to give up.”

Police have not been able to identify any suspects nor pinpoint the responsible person or people behind the attacks, but Silvestri is adamant the attacks are rooted in he and his husband’s sexual orientation.

The police have even tried sending out drones and shutting off the street from nonresidents in order to search the neighborhood, but these attempts have all proved unsuccessful.

According to Silvestri, living in a suburban neighborhood has proved challenging with bigotry purportedly ever present in small towns across the United Kingdom, as opposed to the allegedly more progressive city dwellers.

“You think we are in 2020 and things are changing, but in reality that is not true,” he said. “People who are different are safest in a big metropolis like London but as soon as you come down to a suburban area there are ignorant people.”

The pellets fired by BB guns can blind or even kill a person when shot at close range, which has made Silvestri increasingly anxious and fearful of his livelihood.

Silvestri said the couple has had a number of near misses with the BB projectiles, which can potentially blind a person, saying, “You don’t know when it is going to happen…there is an element of danger attached to it because a ball bearing might not kill you like a bullet but they can blind you and can cause serious damage to your body.”

Independent charity group Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £2,500 ($3,250) for any information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of the responsible party or parties.

Regional manager for Surrey and Sussex Crimestoppers Glenys Balchin said, “It is very sad that in this day and age and in Surrey, this property has been repeatedly attacked, possibly because of the occupants’ sexuality.”

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