Paul Duffy, Galop's spokesman, said yesterday that violence against homosexuals was widespread. At least 40 per cent of gay men and 25 per cent of lesbians have been attacked because of their sexuality, according to a survey by the organisation.
Referring to the hunt for the serial killer, Mr Duffy said: 'What is really important about the horror of recent weeks is that the police recognise the general level of homophobic violence.'
Last night, a Home Office spokesman said it could not comment on the unsolved murders claim. Murder statistics did not record the victims' sexuality. But Peter Tatchell, a spokesman for OutRage, criticised police for failing to monitor 'gay bashing' attacks.
Galop has given information to police from five men who believe they may have been attacked by the killer. The group revealed that detectives were also investigating attacks reported to Galop before the investigation. Officers will address 120,000 men and women in London tomorrow at the annual Pride festival which celebrates gay sexuality.
But the launch of the murder inquiry, just before the festival, has presented the gay press with a dilemma, Mr Duffy said. Its focus on gay clubs exposed an aspect of the community some members regard as 'negative'.
He described the small story about the murders in yesterday's Pink Paper, a weekly gay publication, as 'a curious editorial decision'. It ran its story on the front under the headline 'Warning'. The rest of the front and inside pages were devoted to Pride. Mr Duffy says the murders merited a bigger show.
Pink's rival, Capital Gay, on the streets today, a day late because of production problems, leads with the headline 'Serial Killer Stalks London' and devotes most of the front page to the murders.
Last night David Brindle, Pink's editor, said the murder story had broken too late for the paper to lead with it.