Hate crime victim breaks his silence

PUBLISHED: 09:45 15 May 2013 | UPDATED: 10:12 15 May 2013

David James

David James

Archant

HATE crime blighted a Hatfield man’s life but now he has broken his silence and joined forces with the police to stamp it out.

David James, of Hilltop, suffers from a learning difficulty and has been mercilessly bullied by strangers.

Once he was even randomly punched in the face by someone he did not know.

But now he has been filmed in a video put out by Herts Constabulary which aims to encourage victims to speak out.

Recalling the abuse he suffered, the 67-year-old told the WHT: “I was waiting at the bus stop and some complete stranger punched me in the eye.

“Then I went to the police station and reported it and it wasn’t believed at the time.”

David stressed the boys in blue have got better at responding to hate crimes – where someone is victimised due to their disability, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

But the random assault was not all he had to endure.

When he was living in WGC’s Woodhall area, the persecution was at its worst and he was driven from his home.

“I was getting flour and eggs thrown at my window, unfortunately my window was broken,” he said. “There is an improvement now I have moved to Hatfield, nothing else has happened.”

His long-term assistant Jane Dellow added: “It got worse there, it got bad, David had to move.”

The campaigner believes the public are becoming more tolerant, but still thinks the disabled are still being singled out.

“It is because we are different to other people,” he said.

“They think we get special treatment. We don’t, we get the same treatment to anyone else.

“I would say that [people think] we are treated differently, that we are getting the best of both worlds - if we break the law we are still charged and everything else.”

Due to his experiences David has worked with the police and thrown his weight behind the film put out by Herts Police.

Police and crime commissioner David Lloyd thanked the campaigner for taking part of the film and has pledged to tackle hate crime. He said: “I would like to personally thank the members of the public who agreed to take part in this important film about hate crime, through which they have helped to demonstrate and bring to everyone consciousness the terrible effects hate crime can have on individuals.”


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