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Former councillor beaten in home by homophobic couple after coming out as gay

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Vince McMahan was beaten in his own home after he came out as gay (Picture: SWNS)

A former councillor and magistrate was savagely attacked in his own home after he opened up about his sexuality.

Vince McMahan had a fire-poker forced down his throat and was beaten over the head in a vicious homophobic assault in March 2019.

Just before the attack, the former Canterbury city councillor had come out as gay in the local press after 25 years of keeping it a secret.

He’d told The Kentish Gazette how having a heart attack at a gay bar made him realise he ‘couldn’t live a lie anymore’ in June 2018.

But after reading the article, Stuart Holland, a carpenter who had done work for Mr McMahan, decided to go round to his employer’s house in Canterbury, Kent with his partner Joanna Bath.

They were invited in but then Holland, 45, attacked Mr McMahan, with a fire-poker, while Bath, 46, drew a cosh from her handbag and cracked Mr McMahan over the head with it.

Mr McMahan, a father-of-three, told police the assault left him afraid to leave his home and he died of unrelated causes 18 months later in 2020.

Speaking after the attack, he told officers: ‘I am shaken by this incident because I wouldn’t expect to be attacked in my own home.

Mr McMahan said the incident left him wary of leaving the house (Picture: SWNS)

‘I’m also upset about being targeted and attacked because of my sexuality.

‘This incident has made me very wary to leave my address in case I bump into [the pair] in the street.’

The couple plead guilty to causing actual bodily harm and theft but denied the attack was motivated by Mr McMahan’s sexuality – instead saying it was about unresolved payments.

But prosecutor James Ross said they subjected the former councillor to homophobic abuse as they beat him.

Both levelled unfounded sexual allegations towards Mr McMahan calling him ‘a pervert,’ the court was told.

Mr McMahan finally escaped by leaving his attackers inside his house.

Both defendants pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm and theft while a charge of joint enterprise robbery was asked to lie on file.

Bath, of Herne Bay, Kent, also pleaded guilty to 11 unrelated counts of theft and two counts of supplying Class A drugs at previous hearings.

Her barrister Phil Rowley said Bath lost her way after being the victim of an assault, adding: ‘The effect upon her was traumatic.’

He said she was an addict at the time of her offending, played a ‘lesser-role’ and had cleaned up her act in prison.

Keiran Brand, defending Holland, said his client assaulted Mr McMahan in an unresolved row over money rather than a homosexual attack.

Adjourning the case, Judge James O’Mahony told the duo to expect a spell in prison when he sentences them on Monday. Both were remanded in custody.

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