Gay couple driven from their Edinburgh home by local youths

Daniel Donaldson and Arran Southall say they have been accused of being paedophiles

A gay couple have been forced to leave their home after being subjected to a campaign of hate in which they claim they were accused of being paedophiles by local youths.

Solicitor Daniel Donaldson, 34, said he and his partner Arran Southall, 28, have endured months of misery as their property was attacked and they were abused at their home in Edinburgh.

Mr Donaldson, a volunteer at Glasgow 2014, has written an open letter to the Scottish Justice Secretary, the Lord Advocate and others urging them to review the current laws on hate crime which he said were ineffective against children.

He said that despite the efforts of police, who have charged a number of youths in connection with the incidents, there were no safeguards to prevent further offending and they no longer felt safe.

“My partner and I are now looking to relocate away from Edinburgh. We have had enough. I hope that when we move, we get to enjoy the peace and quiet in our own home, and the freedom from abuse, harassment and vandalism, that we should expect,” he said.

“I have been branded a 'paedo' and a 'beast' in front of my own home. Our car windscreen has been smashed in. Stones, bricks and other missiles have all been thrown at our home, our property is subject to regular trespass and children will even come as far as the front door to bang and shout abuse,” he wrote.

The couple had lived happily in the Drylaw area of the city for the past three-and-a-half years but trouble started earlier this year when a number of new families moved into the neighbourhood, he said. “It just built up over a period of time. It started with low level stuff – them shouting ‘gay’ and ‘puff’ – and then escalated quickly to vandalism and property damage,” he told The Independent.

“My partner and I can’t sleep. It got to the point where I was considering taking tranquilisers. We contemplated sleeping in the living room because it was not facing the road. It made our lives unbearable. I am not holding myself out to be a victim. What I am doing is standing up to them. The problem we have is that hate crime legislation that is meant to protect people is ineffective against children,” he added.

Colin Macfarlane, director of Stonewall Scotland, said: “The sad reality for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Scots is that they face hate crime every day at home, in their communities and their workplaces.”

Edinburgh councillor Cammy Day, community safety leader, said: “Hate crime is completely unacceptable. The council treats all reports of hate crime extremely seriously, and is working with Police Scotland to investigate.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing