Rolls Royce-driving estate agent jailed for attack on two gay men

Rolls Royce-driving estate agent jailed for vicious attack with glass bottle and metal bar on two gay men – before driving off in his white luxury motor

  • Usman Murtza was outside a bar with John-Paul Kesseler and Anthony Smith 
  • The 31-year old told the two men holding hands they ‘shouldn’t be doing that’
  • He threw a bottle at Mr Kesseler’s face and then wielded a metal bar at them

A Rolls Royce-driving estate agent who attacked two two gay men with a glass bottle and a metal bar has been jailed.

Usman Murtza, 31, was standing next to his white Rolls Royce when he saw John-Paul Kesseler and Anthony Smith holding hands outside a bar in Birmingham city centre in October 2021. 

He asked why the two men were holding hands and told them they ‘shouldn’t be doing that, not everyone wants to see that’. 

Murtza then grabbed a bottle from his car and threw it at Mr Kesseler’s face, causing a deep gash, and then wielded a metal bar at both of the men before members of the public intervened and he drove off.

Earlier this year he abandoned his trial and admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and assault by beating. He was sentenced to 16 months in jail today at Birmingham Crown Court. 

A Rolls Royce-driving estate agent, Usman Murtza, 31, (pictured) who attacked two gay men with a glass bottle and a metal bar has been jailed

During the attack Murtza grabbed a bottle from his car and threw it at Mr Kesseler’s face, causing a deep gash (pictured)

In a statement Mr Kesseler, a student, described his continuing anger at the fact he and his friend were attacked ‘because of who we are, queer men’.

He branded Murtza an ignorant homophobe and described the look on his face at the time as the ‘purest distillation of hatred I have ever seen’.

Murtza, from Victoria Road, Tipton, has previous convictions for harassment, handling stolen goods and robbery. 

He had initially denied the latest offences, claiming he was acting in self-defence before changing his plea. 

In court, Murtza said he was ‘unreservedly sorry and ashamed’ about the attack. 

The businessman and married father, had gay friends himself, the court heard, and said he could empathise with the victims because of the similar hostility which came with being Asian.

Murtza’s sentence had to be uplifted to account for the homophobic nature of the attack. 

Recorder Paul McGrath concluded he would not suspend the sentence and said: ‘This was a persistent offence aggravated by the demonstration of hostility towards sexual orientation and it had a significant effect on two innocent victims. 

‘I don’t feel appropriate punishment can be achieved with a suspended sentence.’

CCTV footage captured the attack which took place at 5.13am on October 10, 2021 as Mr Kesseler and Mr Smith were walking to a hotel having been out in Birmingham’s Gay Village. 

Prosecutor Francesca Perera said: ‘They encountered the defendant near the old Jester bar standing next to a white Rolls Royce. 

‘He asked why they were holding hands and told them they “shouldn’t be doing that, not everyone wants to see that”.

‘They continued to walk holding hands. Mr Kesseler said nothing was wrong with what they were doing. The defendant became aggressive and grabbed a bottle from the car where an unknown male attempted to pull him away.’

She said Murtza threw the bottle, which struck Mr Kesseler in the face, and then grabbed a pole striking both men on the arms as they defended themselves. 

Other witnesses intervened and Murtza drove off. Paramedics took Mr Kesseler to the hospital where the cut above his eye had to be glued. He was left with a scar.

Mr Kesseler was taken to the hospital after the attack where the cut above his eye had to be glued and was later left with a scar

He said his initial reaction to the attack was one of ‘defiance’ but he soon realised he was self-medicating by going out too often, adding his alcohol consumption ‘sky rocketed’.

Mr Kesseler said his studies had suffered since the attack and said: ‘I am apoplectic someone had the freedom to spout hate because of their ignorance..’

He added: ‘The defendant saw us holding hands and couldn’t contain the hate he had for us. It was the purest distillation of hatred I have ever seen.’

Mr Smith said he no longer felt safe holding his current partner’s hand in public or leaving gay bars and clubs in Birmingham. 

In a letter, Murtza said: ‘I would like to offer my very sincere apologies to John-Paul Kesseler and Anthony Smith for my stupid and dangerous behaviour. 

‘I’m sorry you were the victims of my behaviour and I’m sorry you were injured as a result and you will remember everything that evening from the moment I interrupted you.

‘I am not proud of what I did. My parents are struggling to show support. I am unreservedly sorry and ashamed.’

Richard Butcher, defending, told the court Murtza ran his own estate agents, was married with a young child and had a number homosexual friends. 

He argued the offence was ‘wholly out of character’ based on references from people who had spoken of him, and added: ‘This situation seems to have blown up and escalated very quickly. 

‘The fact Mr Murtza has shown hostility towards two fellow human beings because of their sexual orientation is something he is deeply ashamed of.

‘Being Asian in this world also comes with a degree of being subjected to hostility. Mr Murtza knows only too well the effect of his actions.’

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