A man who went on a “homophobic rant” and threatened to stab a train packed with LGBT+ people returning from Brighton Pride has been fined just £613 for the hate crime.
The man, now identified as Chadd MacIntosh, boarded a train from Brighton to London on August 4 2018 after the UK’s biggest Pride festival. He verbally abused passengers, calling them “perverts,” “f****ts” and “batty men” who “deserved to be killed.”
With no staff or police on board the train, the man shouted that he had a knife and would stab every gay person in the carriage, saying: “You’re in London now, we carry knives here.”
Nine months later he was found guilty of a public order offence with the aggravating factor of a hate crime, punishable by a £613 fine.
The terrifying encounter was filmed by LGBT+ journalist Benjamin Butterworth, who wrote in iNews: “The fear was palpable.”
On train back from @PrideBrighton, a man threatened to pull a knife on me and others and stab us for being gay. He called us peadophiles and dirty and shouted gay people need to all be killed. The video is a fraction of what he said, as was too scared & shaken to film. pic.twitter.com/j60xfcPua4
— Benjamin Butterworth (@benjaminbutter) August 5, 2018
Butterworth was only able to capture 21 seconds of the incident as he was “so paralysed by fear.” He said: “Being barely a metre from him and the knife he claimed to have, I sat perfectly still trying to make no eye contact in the hope of going unnoticed.
“I had not captured some of his most violent comments. They were so threatening I daren’t trigger him.”
The man was eventually taken off the train in handcuffs by a police officer. Butterworth’s statement and video proved to be valuable to the investigation and his phone was submitted to police as evidence.
“The trauma of that rail journey has lived with me since.”
— Benjamin Butterworth
The British Transport Police initially appeared to be taking the incident seriously, but when the lenient punishment was announced after “months of inaction,” Butterworth openly criticised the “under-funded, over-worked criminal justice system,” which he feels was not on his side.
He said: “The trauma of that rail journey has lived with me since. But what made it so much worse was the system’s response – from police demanding to look through my phone to the woeful punishment the man received at the end of it.
“I believed the law would be fully on my side and that of other commuters affected. The incident had many witnesses, took place on public transport, and was virulently homophobic. How wrong I was.”
LGBT+ hate crimes have more than doubled in England and Wales
Butterworth does not believe the £613 fine reflects the severity of the crime, particularly in light of the mounting rates of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes across the country.
Taz Edwards-White, of equality and diversity organisation Metro, told The Guardian she believes these latest hate crime statistics are likely to be “the tip of the iceberg.”
She said: “There is a tension, and even within our own LGBT community there is a tension. I believe it’s a direct result of people feeling unsafe due to rise of the rightwing political movement.
“What we see in our services is lots of people experience day-to-day verbal attacks or violence and aggressive language and homophobic attitudes … We do believe the political climate has had an impact: people feel unsafe. What is happening in central government and all the scapegoating has an effect.”