A COUNTY Durham couple have hit out after claiming they were mocked for their disabilities during an incident outside a pub - during which one was allegedly assaulted.

Stephen Short, 34, and Ellen Ross, 41, were left upset after claiming they were told "people like you should be shot" while standing outside a pub in Ferryhill.

The incident, which allegedly took place on April 24, saw Mr Short called names and someone grab his head before "banging" his head against the wall.

Meanwhile his partner, Ms Ross was reportedly taunted for the way she walked.

The Northern Echo:

Last night, the pair spoke out as they branded their alleged treatment as "wrong," calling on the police to investigate.

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Mr Short, of Ferryhill Station, told The Northern Echo: "I have learning disabilities and have a mind of an 11-year-old. My partner Ellen also suffers from learning disabilities and has disabled problems.

“There were arguments going on between other customers in the pub and we went outside for a cigarette - when we got outside one of the people three called me a s*****r.

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“I said 'please don't talk to me like that, because I'm not doing anything wrong'."

Explaining the nature of the incident, Mr Short alleged events had later become physical: "A man got hold of my head and banged it against the wall and said people like me should be shot.

“As we walked out of the pub they took the micky out of my partner's walk because she suffers from "hydrocephalus spastic pelagia," which affects her brain and also affects her walking."

The Northern Echo:

Mr Short said he had contacted the police after the incident unfolded last month, but decided at the time not to pursue the matter.

However, he has since decided to ask police to investigate after being verbally abused in the street by some of the people involved in that incident again.

Describing the impact of the incidents on the couple, Mr Short said: "It's wrong for anyone to criticise people with disabilities and mental health problems.

“This has really got me down. It's caused my mental health to be in a state. I've not had problems like this since school when I was bullied.

"I'm 34 now and it's bad when it's adults doing this.”

The Northern Echo: Stephen ShortStephen Short

Durham Police confirmed it had received a report in relation to the allegations made by the couple.

A spokesperson for the force said: “Earlier today, we were contacted to report an alleged incident of verbal abuse at a pub in Ferryhill that is said to have taken place on April 24. Inquiries are ongoing.”


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