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Gay couple taunted by their neighbour

BIRMINGHAM’S first gay couple to tie the knot - one of them a Solihull councillor - have suffered years of homophobic abuse from their next door neighbour.

BIRMINGHAM’S first gay couple to tie the knot - one of them a Solihull councillor - have suffered years of homophobic abuse from their next door neighbour.

The revelation came to light this week after a man appeared in court charged with harassing the pair at their Solihull home.

For about three years the happy couple, Bryn and James Tudor, have had to put up with the taunts of neighbour Baljit Koonar, 29.

But this week he was told to stay away from the Tudors and was handed an 18 month restraining order.

“It’s fantastic,” said Bryn, who is a Lib Dem councillor for Shirley West and also runs his own charity.

“Although it’s not exactly the outcome we were hoping for, the restraining order is great news - in fact we only found out two hours ago,” he said on Wednesday

Koonar, of Amberley Road, was also given a supervision order for 18 months and told to pay £150 court costs and £150 compensation to the Tudors at Solihull Magistrates’ Court on Monday afternoon. He had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of harassment

“We had put up with his verbal abuse for years - it affects you everyday,” added Bryn, who is currently recovering following complications from surgery to his ear.

Bryn and his partner James made history in 2005 when they became the first same sex couple to participate in a Civil Parnership at Birmingham Registry Office.

They moved into Amberley Road in 2007 and the problems began after just six months. In 2008 the court made Koonar sign a Good Neighbour Agreement, but this did little to help.

In a victim statement read out in court, Bryn Tudor said that the constant abuse had made him “angry” and eventually “wore him down” to the point that it caused depression and made him go from being “active to inactive”. He added that the couple considered moving home but “did not want to give in to the bully”.

Despite being subjected to vile taunts for a number of years, in an ironic twist of fate, the Tudors helped to save the Koonars from a severe fire at their home only last month.

“My partner James woke up and smelt burning at about 6am. He went to the front window and heard shouts of help.

“With a neighbour we got some step ladders and helped them all down, before inviting them into our lounge and offering the children refreshments.”

 

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