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Homophobic attacks on the South Bank

London SE1 website team

Police are appealing for assistance from the public following a series of possibly homophobic attacks on the South Bank in the early hours of Saturday morning.

David Morley
David Morley

At approximately 3.30am on Saturday morning two men were assaulted on the South Bank, close to Hungerford Bridge. One of the victims – 37-year-old pub worker David Morley – was taken to a South London hospital where he later died as a result of his injuries. A post-mortem will be held at 14:30 on Sunday established that he died of multiple injuries. Police have said that Morley had recieved more than 40 bruises.

Morley, who lived and worked in Chiswick, had survived the nail bomb attack on Soho's Admiral Duncan pub five years ago.

The second victim – aged 29 – sustained minor injuries and was taken to St Thomas' Hospital. He was later discharged.

Speaking at the scene, Detective Chief Inspector Nick Scola said Mr Morley had been sitting on a bench next to the river for three hours, chatting to an old friend he had met that night, before being attacked.

They were approached by a group of six youths – two black boys, two white boys and two white girls.

The gang made some brief comments before attacking Mr Morley and his friend and stealing some of their belongings.

This fatal attack followed two separate attacks minutes earlier, also between Hungerford Bridge and Westminster Bridge. All three attacks are believed to be linked.

At approximately 3.25am two other men were assaulted near Hungerford Bridge. They received minor injuries but did not attend hospital.

At approximately 3.15am a man was assaulted in Jubilee Gardens. The victim was sitting on a bench when a group of suspects approached him and the victim was hit over the head with an object. The victim received minor injuries and was taken to a South London hospital. He has since been discharged. It is thought that a group of suspects carried out the attack.

All of the attacks are being investigated by the Specialist Crime Directorate (South). An incident room has opened at Sutton Police Station.

DCI Nick Scola, who is leading the investigation, said: "We are very keen to talk to anyone who witnessed any of the attacks. One witness has reported seeing a woman punched in the face, again by a small group of attackers near Hungerford Bridge, we would like to speak to her and anyone else who may have been assaulted in similar circumstances."

DCI Nick Scola later added: "After the attack the suspects ran off through Jubilee Gardens towards the Shell building.

"Suspects included two young men, aged mid to late teens, one white and one black. Two young women were with them."

At a briefing on Monday, Scola said: “In at least two of the three attacks, victims were gay.

"Whilst robbery was clearly a motive, until I can be satisfied the attacks were not homophobic, they will be treated as homophobic."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Incident Room on 020 8721 4111, where their call will dealt with in the strictest confidence. To remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

In December 2003 police issued an appeal after a spate of homophobic assaults on the South Bank.

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