A police constable who proposed to his partner in a public gesture at Pride London that went viral said he regrets it because of the amount of hatred he received after.
PC Phil Adlem proposed to his partner Jonathan Sammons at the Gay Pride festival in London in 2016. The proposal was captured on camera and widely shared on social media.
Ahead of 2017's Pride celebrations, Adlem told the Guardian he was shocked by the amount of death threats and hateful comments he has received since.
"I was on an emotional high in the immediate aftermath: I had a wonderful fiancé and I was getting amazing messages of support from friends and colleagues," he said.
"I looked through the online comments from the British public. Most were fantastic. But my smile did not last long as I continued reading. 'Both should be hanged till death', 'Absolutely disgusting' and 'Don't blame Isis if they strike them!'. There were countless more, some with threats."
Adlem explained that hostile reactions by a colleague and an old college friend "was enough for me to wish I had never done it". He rejected all media requests for interviews following his proposal.
Adlem explained that the hatred received was not his first experience of homophobia.
"On my 18th birthday, I went out with my 'secret boyfriend' and was the victim of a brutal homophobic attack in which I was dragged down a narrow alleyway by three men and severely beaten without a chance of defending myself," he explained. "They did not stop until they were forced to by the police who arrived at the scene."
Adlem said Pride remained an "invaluable source of positivity and strength for anyone who has experienced abuse or bullying" and added he is happy he lives in a time where he can be openly gay as a member of the police.