‘I’m going to burn your home with your kids inside’ – Sunderland man’s homophobic rant at lesbian couple

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A man launched a homophobic roadside rant at a lesbian former couple, threatening to burn a woman’s home with her children inside.

Barry Sharkey, 36, unleashed his torrent of abuse at the pair as they had slowed down in Albany, Washington, on October 15, Sunderland magistrates heard.

Standing in front of the car, Sharkey threatened to burn the driver’s house down with her children inside, prosecutor John McGlone said.

He then spouted homophobic abuse while the woman’s 12-year-old daughter was inside the car.

Mr McGlone said Sharkey’s ex-partner was involved in a “dispute” with one of the victims, adding: “She was driving slowly when Sharkey, appeared in front of the car and put both his hands on the bonnet.”

Sharkey shouted abuse and called her fat, adding: “I’m going to get my mates and your home is going up with your kids in it.”

“She was shocked and shaken by the homophobic comments, especially as her 12-year-old daughter was in the car,” Mr McGlone said.

Her ex-partner, who was also in the car, told police she saw Sharkey put his hands on the front of the car.

“He was foaming at the mouth,” she told police, as Sharkey launched into homophobic abuse and threats of burning the house down, while the children were inside.

The driver of the car said in a victim statement that she had suffered panic attacks since. “The incident has affected me more as my daughter was in the car,” she added.

“This is a matter of homophobic crime,” Mr McGlone added.

Sharkey, of Marion Court, Gateshead, denied threatening behaviour, but failed to turn up for his trial and was found guilty in his absence.

He was sentenced to a community order with a three-month tagged curfew between 10pm and 6am.

Indefinite restraining orders were made in respect of four people. He was told to pay costs of £100 and victim surcharge of £60.