Gay couple sickened by extremists who 'linked homosexuality to paedophilia'
A GAY couple told a court they felt "sickened and shocked" after witnessing an extremist protest that linked homosexuality to paedophilia.
Aaron Stephens and Richard Williams were in Derby on the day of last year's Derbyshire Pride march through the city centre.
Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court heard that they were not involved in the celebration, organised by Derbyshire's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
But while walking up St Peter's Street they saw a group of protesters shouting.
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Mr Stephens, 43, told the court yesterday: "They were chanting about there being a genetic link between homosexuality and paedophiles.
"That left me reeling a little bit, it was just a bit shocking, I was shook up."
Mr Stephens and Mr Williams were giving evidence on the first day of the trial of four men charged with using threatening and abusive words or behaviour that could cause harassment, alarm or distress.
Kabir Ahmed, 28, of Madeley Street, Normanton, Amar Iqbal, 32, of Rosehill Street, Normanton, Jordan Tudge, 23, of Hawthorn Street, Osmaston, and Zied Zinnedine, 36, of Mount Crescent, Warsop, Nottinghamshire, all deny the charge.
Yesterday in court each of their barristers submitted legal arguments that those summons had been issued before police had taken statements from Mr Stephens and Mr Williams.
Christopher Knowles, prosecuting, opened the proceedings.
He said: "The charge relates to the Derbyshire Pride event which took place on August 20 last year.
"The defendants were part of a group of around 30 protesters carrying placards with anti-homosexual comments on them.
"As the parade passes each defendant makes homophobic comments such as 'scum,' 'gays will go to hell' and 'we hope you die of Aids'."
Magistrates were shown CCTV footage of the crowd gathering in St Peter's Street at its junction with St Peter's Churchyard on August 20 last year.
Some held placards which carried slogans such as "Homosexuality = Freedom Gone Too Far," "Homosexuality = A Crime Against God" and "Islam is the Ultimate Truth".
As the procession from Derby Pride passed the group, the footage showed Tudge leading other men in a chant of "Gays, gays, gays, we hope you die of Aids".
And on a loud hailer Ahmed was seen shouting about how in 2002 an American neuroscientist showed that studies linked paedophiles and gay people.
Mr Williams told the court he and Mr Stephens had stayed at the Cathedral Quarter Hotel the previous evening after coming to the city to celebrate a friend's 50th birthday.
He said: "We walked up the street and saw the group of men.
"The phrase that I heard which sticks out in my mind is one that linked gay people to paedophilia.
"I was shocked, offended and sickened by it.
"I was surprised that the police, who had formed a cordon around the men, let this kind of chanting go on."
Mr Stephens told the court he complained to the police about what he and his partner had heard and they were interviewed in April this year.
The trial continues.