A police officer has been accused of homophobia after telling a gay colleague he “screamed like a little girl” when he had a spider flicked at him.
Sergeant Mark Goodenough of London’s Metropolitan Police teased junior colleague PC Aaron Prayter after he allegedly screamed in a high pitched voice when a spider went flying through the air.
Prayter, who is an outspoken campaigner on gay rights, did not see the funny side and complained to senior officers he felt “angry and embarrassed” – although he did admit to having previously described himself as a “screaming queen”.
Sergeant Goodenough is now appearing before a misconduct panel over his comments, and could even face dismissal if they rule against him. He also faces allegations he referred an “HIV diet” in reference to Prayter’s slim build, and said “what a gay” about someone who complained about hurting their finger.
He also faces claims he called another office “the short lesbian”, remarked “I don’t want another one of you lot” when he heard another gay officer was joining the team, and also mentioned a “gay clique”.
The Daily Mail reports the incident with the spider happened three years ago when officers discovered it in a flat. An unidentified third officer flicked it at Prayter, who says he simply moved out the way and denies screaming.
Ben Summers, representing Sergeant Goodenough, said his client accepts he “may have said he’d heard you had screamed like a little girl,” but the use of the phrase was “as a description, without malice.”
Prayter responded: “He said it in a way which, I believed, was to try to bully me and humiliate me.”
Another openly gay officer, PC Nikki Hardy, also testified at the tribunal. She said that although Goodenough was an “intrusive” supervisor, she did not believe he was homophobic. She added that any remarks made about gay colleagues were “banter”.
“I didn’t feel aggrieved by them,” she added.
The hearing continues.