A teenager was strangled on the London Underground by two men who forced him to apologise for being gay in a homophobic attack, police said.
The 19-year-old’s friend, a 25-year-old woman, suffered bruising after trying to intervene in the attack on the Jubilee line train between West Ham and North Greenwich at around 11.10pm on Saturday, October 21.
Police have released an image of two men they are searching for in connection to the incident, which they are treating as a hate crime.
The victim and his friend were dressed in fancy dress for an event they were travelling to when the attackers boarded the train at West Ham and began verbally abusing them with homophobic language, the London Evening Standard reports.
It’s alleged the suspects became more aggressive when their behaviour was challenged.
One of the suspects put the victim in the headlock and started to strangle him while the second took his mobile phone and threatened to stab him, according to police.
A British Transport Police spokesman said:
They demanded the victim apologise for being gay which eventually the victim did as he was struggling to breathe.
They then let him go and handed back his phone and a fight ensued between the victim’s friends and the offenders.
One of the victim’s friends, a 25-year-old woman, was punched and pushed to the ground. She sustained bruising.
The victims left the train two stops later at North Greenwich, the teenage victim did not suffer physical injury.
The BTP spokesman continued:
Hate crime will not be tolerated by British Transport Police. We believe that everyone has the right to travel safety.
We won’t tolerate behaviour where someone is targeted because they are perceived to be different, or made to feel uncomfortable on their journey.
Police have requested anyone with information of the two men come forward by calling 0800 405 040 or texting 61016, quoting reference number 273 of 1/12.