Couple claim they have received death threats after '˜homophobic attack' on Sheffield bus

A Sheffield couple claim they have received death threats online after they were victims of a homophobic attack on a city bus.

Monday, 1st August 2016, 4:40 pm
Updated Monday, 1st August 2016, 6:04 pm
William Cocking and Rhys Woodcock claim they were victims of a homophobic attack on a Sheffield bus and have received detah threats accusing them of being racist on social media.

William Cocking, aged 49, and Rhys Woodcock, 20, both of Wincobank, say they were abused by four women as they travelled on the number 88 bus.

Police are now investigating the incident, which occurred at around 4pm on July 2.

William said that as the couple boarded the bus on Arundel Gate, the driver told them to open a window as children had let off a stink bomb.

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He said: “I reached over to open the window and a woman said to me: ‘You horrible man’. When I confronted her, she and three others launched into a homophobic tirade against us.”

William said the driver asked the women to stop, but they wouldn’t.

He said: “The abuse carried on until the women got off at Spital Hill. The group spat at every window on the way out and carried on swearing. We were both terrified, as were all the other passengers on the bus.”

The couple claim they have received death threats online since the incident.

Rhys said: “I had a message accusing us of racially abusing the women. The person who contacted me said that they knew where we lived and had been paid £2,000 to kill us. I’ve had six similar threats since this happened. It’s really scary.”

William added: “We are worried right now and are considering moving away from Sheffield for good.”

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said: “Officers would like to hear from anyone who was on the number 88 bus between 3.30pm and 4pm on July 2, and may have witnessed a verbal dispute between a man and a woman.

“A 55-year-old woman was on the bus travelling from Sheffield city centre with a group of friends at the same time as a 49-year-old man. There are believed to have been racially abusive remarks and homophobic comments made and officers are treating the incident as hate crimes.”

n Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101.