Man charged in south London Pride unrest says he’s ‘not homophobic’

The man at the center of an investigation into a hate crime that took place at the Wortley Village Pride festival in south London claims the media was wrong about how events unfolded last Saturday.

Richard Sillers, 37, is charged with possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and causing a disturbance by shouting. Court documents describe the weapon as a blunt object.

A London Police Service investigator is also considering the incident a hate crime.

« My family is not homophobic, » Sillers said Tuesday when reached by phone. « You have part of the truth but you lack the context. »

Sillers said he was in the Old South neighborhood picking up a friend and got out of the vehicle when his truck was surrounded by people attending the Pride event. He asked a CBC London reporter to read Rebel News and Druthers for what he called « the truth » about what happened.

Witnesses say Sillers was the driver of a white truck with a Canada flag on the back that circled the Pride event taking place on the Green, and honked his horn continuously.

Witnesses said he stopped the vehicle on Wortley Road, got out of the vehicle and physically confronted those attending the event.

London police said their investigation is continuing.

London Police Chief Steve Williams condemned the incident, saying there was no tolerance for « acts of intolerance, bias or hatred against any member of our community ».

Members of the Pride community say they are worried about what could happen at Sunday’s Pride Parade and Festival in Victoria Park. Police and organizers said there will be heavy security, including uniformed and plainclothes police, to make sure everyone feels safe.

Sillers will be back in court on August 25.


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