Gosnells attack confirmed as involving gay dating app Scruff

Last week Perth police arrested a 26-year old man in relation to violent assaults in Gosnells. Whether the assaults were directly related to the LGBTIQ+ community was not clear as the police described the assaults as using a “messaging app”.

When approached by OUTinPerth police denied the incidents involved Grindr, but said it was policy to use a generic descriptor “messaging app”. Police were not able to confirm the specific app, leading to speculation if the incidents were linked to a gay dating app.

Now one of the victims has spoken out and revealed that the app was popular gay dating app Scruff. Speaking to Star Observer 57-year-old Perth-resident Michael Buhle recounted his terrifying encounter with three men at a building site in Gosnells.

It was around 3 am on March 29th when Buhle arrived at a building site expecting to meet a man he’d been chatting to online. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness Buhle realised there were several men in the room and he was hit over the head with a baseball bat.

“I just felt overwhelming terror and started whimpering to myself. I turned and started towards the car. The next thing I remember is being stooped over and seeing this guy take a full swing with the bat striking my left temple, l will never ever forget watching him swing that bat towards me,” Buhle recalled.

What followed seems like a blur, and all he felt was “a rapid succession of sharp thuds about my head.” Then as suddenly as it started, the attack stopped.

Buhle retreated to his car, worried that the men would reappear out the shadows and continue their assault. His injuries included a skull injury and a broken jaw.

Police continue to search for the other men involved in the attack.

It’s not the first time homophobic assault involving a dating app have occurred in the region. In 2017 two men were charged and convicted over a series of violent assaults in the nearby suburb of Canningvale. On that occasion Police defended their decision to not inform the LGBTIQ community that the assaults were occurring.

In 2018 several gay men were lured to a park in Doubleview, one of the victims described to OUTinPerth how he was assaulted and left with bruises and facial fractures.  The offenders were later apprehended and revealed to be school students from Perth’s northern suburbs.

OIP Staff


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