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Lesbian Couple Attacked in England in Possible Hate Crime

Lauren Heeks and Jade Vernalis
From left: Lauren Heeks and Jade Vernalis

Lauren Heeks and Jade Vernalis say they believe the attack by three men was motivated by homophobia.

Two lesbians were beaten early Saturday morning in Worcester, England, in what they believe was a homophobia-fueled attack.

Lauren Heeks, 22, and Jade Vernalls, 25, who are a couple, were assaulted by three men about 1 a.m. at the entrance to Asda, a big-box retailer, the Worcester News reports. Heeks said the men shouted at the couple, and she responded by saying, "What's your problem?"

"It all happened so fast," she told the News. "They started hitting me, and then my partner stood in front of me, trying to defend me. She got kicked in the face, and I also got kicked two or three times in the face and punched four times as well."

"We believe this was a homophobic attack," she continued. "We're clearly a lesbian couple. There was no other reason for them to come out of nowhere and attack us in that way. My partner said 'What are you doing?' so they kicked her as well and carried on attacking me." The attackers fled as soon as Vernalis started calling police, Heeks added.

Heeks was bruised on her face and chest, and one attacker left a footprint on her T-shirt when kicking her, she said. Vernalis had swelling around her eye, while Heeks required treatment at a local hospital. The couple reported the attack to police, and Heeks is scheduled to be interviewed by investigators Friday. The couple and the police are asking witnesses or any others with information about the attack to come forward.

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