Published: 06:00, 08 April 2021
| Updated: 16:10, 08 April 2021
A former magistrate who opened his heart about his sexuality was tortured in his own home by a homophobic couple.
Vince McMahan from Canterbury had a fire-poker forced down his throat and was beaten to the floor in a shockingly brutal attack.
Mr McMahan, who was also a former Canterbury city councillor and died 18 months after the attack, told police the assault left him afraid to leave his home.
Stuart Holland, 45, rammed a fire-poker down his throat, while Holland’s partner Joanna Bath, 46, drew a cosh from her handbag and cracked Mr McMahan over the head.
After the attack, the former magistrate told police: “I am shaken by this incident because I wouldn’t expect to be attacked in my own home - I’m also upset about being targeted and attacked because of my sexuality.
“This incident has made me very wary to leave my address in case I bump into (the pair) in the street."
Prosecutors told how the couple targeted Mr McMahan after reading an article in KentOnline's sister paper The Kentish Gazette where he opened up about his sexuality.
James Ross, prosecuting, explained Mr McMahan found disclosing his sexuality “a weight off his shoulders”.
Holland, a carpenter, and his partner Bath knocked on Mr McMahan’s door at 10.30pm, and were invited inside, as Holland had recently done some work for him.
“While all sitting in the living room Stuart Holland made a comment about Vincent McMahan’s sexuality,” the barrister continued
“Vincent McMahan said in the local press that he was gay, a magistrate, and it as a great weight off his shoulders."
Holland repeatedly slapped Mr McMahan and called him “queer”, then thrashed him with a nearby fire-poker.
“Holland used that poker to begin striking Mr McMahan’s right leg a few times - this caused cuts and soreness,” the barrister went on.
“After Holland used the poker, Bath then got up and slapped Mr McMahan a few times, she then took an implement from her handbag and used this to hit Mr McMahan on the back of the head.”
Both levelled unfounded sexual allegations towards Mr McMahan calling him “a pervert”, the court was told.
When their victim tried fleeing, Holland intensified his campaign of humiliation, Mr Ross said.
The barrister labelled the attack “gratuitous degradation”, adding: “It was at this point Mr Holland grabbed him and inserted the poker into his mouth, causing him to gag.”
As the prosecutor described how Mr McMahan finally escaped by leaving his attackers inside the property, both defendants could be seen trying to whisper to each other in the dock.
Mr McMahan had recently employed Holland to carry out carpentry work on his Canterbury home, meaning he could come and go as he pleased.
And Mr McMahan “didn’t expect anything was wrong” when he invited Holland and Bath into his home, just minutes before the attack unfolded in March 2019.
Mr McMahan died of unrelated causes in 2020.
Both defendants pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm and theft while a charge of joint enterprise robbery was asked to lie on file.
'Mr Holland grabbed him and inserted the poker into his mouth, causing him to gag...'
Bath, of Beaumont Street in Herne Bay, also pleaded guilty to 11 unrelated counts of theft and two counts of supplying Class A drugs at previous hearings.
Her barrister Phil Rowley said Bath lost her way after being the victim of an assault, adding: “The effect upon her was traumatic.”
He said she was an addict at the time of her offending, played a “lesser-role” and had cleaned up her act in prison.
Keiran Brand, for Holland, said his client assaulted Mr McMahan in an unresolved row over money rather than a homophobic attack.
Adjourning the case, Judge James O’Mahony told the duo to expect a spell in prison when he sentences them on Monday.
Both were remanded in custody.