Belfast Telegraph

Lurgan actor Conleth Kane suffers homophobic and racist attack on London train

Ex-Casualty star left shaken after thug shouted vile abuse on Tube

By Ali Gordon

Police are searching for a man who launched a racist and homophobic attack on Lurgan performer Conleth Kane before chasing him through a train station.

The actor was left shaken up after the terrifying incident, which took place on a London tube train last Friday.

“I have lived in London for 14 years and I’ve never encountered anything like this,” the former Casualty star told Sunday Life.

“I’ve read about racist and homophobic attacks in London being on the increase since Brexit, but I’d never seen it.”

Travelling southbound on the Victoria line, between Green Park and Pimlico, the star was subjected to a tirade of abuse from an angry stranger.

“An older man’s walking stick fell and a Turkish man lifted it back up for him, but the older man didn’t say thank you,” explained the 33-year-old.

“The Turkish man started laying into him, getting really angry and confrontational.

“The man was about 80 and then when we got to the next stop, the Turkish man lifted the walking stick and threw it out and told him to go and get it.

“I thought to myself, ‘If that was my grandparent, I would expect someone to step in’, so I knew I had to do something.

“I told the Turkish man that his behaviour was unacceptable and you couldn’t treat older and disabled people like that.

“The older man was hobbling off the train to try and get his walking stick, and then when he went to get back on the man blocked his entry until the doors closed.

“He then turned to me and started again, shouting that he was more English than anyone on the train and saying, ‘You British people are trying to get rid of me’, and all these racist-motivated comments.”

He then took Conleth’s hat off and threw it away before hurling more abuse at him and pointing in his face, so the actor decided to get off at the next stop.

The Grass Is Greener singer said: “He followed me and that’s when it started to get really homophobic. He was calling me a gay boy and telling me that he was a real man and I wasn’t, and being very, very homophobic.”

The man then chased Conleth up the stairs of the train station.

“He could have had a knife or anything, so I tried to find a staff member to help,” he said. “He managed to get away before the police intervened, but they have launched an appeal to find him.”

British Transport Police issued a CCTV image of the man and called on anyone with information to come forward.

Conleth admitted he only told his mother about the attack after the police decided to take action.

“She’d have had me booked on the next flight home!,” he said. “I was really shaken up, but I’m more annoyed that no one stepped in.

 “It just shows you that the Northern Irish don’t stand for s**t. We don’t accept that kind of behaviour.”

After a traumatic week, Conleth received some much-needed good news — that he would be a music guest on The Gaby Roslin Show on BBC Radio London next month.

He said: “I sent an email ages ago, so I’d kind of forgotten about it. These people get music sent to them all the time, so to think that someone took the time to listen to it and invite me on the show is amazing.

“Northern Ireland has been amazing to me, especially Stuart Robinson from Cool FM, who gave me a platform back home. London is where I live, though, so I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to be on such a well-known show there.

“My next single, I Wonder, was in the running for Ireland’s entry for Eurovision, but when it was rejected, I thought, ‘This song has legs’. It’s a good Ed Sheeran-style track and I want to do something with it’, so I’m very excited.”

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