Police hunt for Plymouth couple after gay hate attack
A TEENAGER has been forced to seek medical advice after she was verbally abused, threatened and spat on outside a burger bar.
The girl has told The Herald she was left shocked and frightened by the experience, which took place in the city centre.
In an effort to trace her attackers investigators have released CCTV stills of a man and a woman they wish to trace.
They hope the pair can supply them with key information about what has been classed as a homophobic attack on the 18-year-old who was sitting with her two 16-year-old friends outside the McDonalds restaurant at the top of New George Street.
Det Con Anne Rose, of the Diverse Communities Team, said the teenagers had been inside the restaurant shortly before 6.20pm on January 10 but had then gone outside and sat on a nearby bench to smoke a cigarette.
Det Con Rose said: "They were minding their own business when they saw a man mouthing and gesturing from inside the restaurant. At first they weren't sure what he wanted, but eventually they realised he was gesticulating for them to go away, swearing at them to leave.
"Then he came out and as one of the victims described it, he strode over aggressively and started shouting and swearing at them."
Det Con Rose said the man called all three girls extremely offensive names.
She said the man then assured her he had no problem hitting a girl before he then spat at her in the face.
Det Con Rose said: "All the time she was asking him to walk away, afraid of what he might do.
"The woman said at one stage the man's partner came over and made similar comments."
Det Con Rose said: "The only explanation she was able to give for the assault was because of her hair colour and the hair colour of one of the younger friends. They had just been sitting, talking and smoking."
Speaking to The Herald the 18-year-old said that as a result of being spat at she had been advised to make an appointment with her doctor.
She said: "We must've briefly caught his gaze and he misinterpreted it as something else."
She added: "I just don't like that it is meant to be a safe place in town to sit and that this can happen to anyone. My friends are only 16 and they shouldn't have to face that."
If you can assist police in identifying either the man or the woman shown, contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 quoting crime reference number EC/13/316.