Preston bus driver Gabriel Labricciosa subjected to hate crime ordeal over nationality

A Preston bus driver originally from New York has been subjected to a vicious assault and told to "go back to his own country and stop taking jobs".

By Emma Downey
Monday, 21st March 2022, 12:50 pm

On the phone to his ex girlfriend last Tuesday evening, Gabriel Labricciosa, 39, was walking home from work on Fishergate near Sainsbury’s in Preston, when the verbal assault quickly escalated into a physical one.

"At around 8pm on Tuesday evening I was walking home video chatting with my ex Yolanda in New York with my ear plugs in as you just speak as if the person was beside you.

"Hearing my American accent. He stopped me, coming straight into my face, "You're American right? What the eff are you doing here you effing Yank?"

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Gabriel Labricciosa who was verbally abused because of his nationality

"That I am not allowed to be here and nobody wants you here. He seemed to be drunk, very angered, aggressive and persistent. I tried walking around him and told him to go away and leave me alone.

"He continued I was stealing all the jobs away from them.

"I'm not taking anyone's job. When a job comes up I apply like everyone else.

"At the same time Yolanda, hearing everything, was very worried and commanded to run away and call the cops.

Gabriel Labricciosa who fought off a mugger

"At this point I was ignoring him and I sort of passed him by, he then grabbed me from behind by my neck and held me by my backpack.

"He was trying to knock me down on the ground so I would be vulnerable and kept shouting "come on punch me then.”

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Feeling under threat, Gabriel then put his mobile phone backpack and coat down.

"I was in a defensive fighting stance, this is exactly what he wanted. My ex-girlfriend was screaming and pleading not to fight, I then tried to reason with him but he only took this as an opportunity to try and steal my mobile which I managed to grab.

"He then took my backpack with my shopping in it and started to run off with it. I ran after him and we were both struggling for the backpack, it broke and ripped open, all my stuff scattered on the ground and also broke the bottle of wine. He finally left."

Calling the police, he went into the nearby Sainsbury's for safety not knowing if he would be back.

"How do you just go up to someone with so much hatred?

"I have lived in the UK for 10 years now. I'm originally from New York City USA.

"I had to take this day off from work for an injured shoulder.

"I just want to find this person and bring him to justice."

A spokesperson for the police said enquiries were ongoing and urged anyone with any information to come forward calling 101 quoting log 1391 of March 15th.

“We were called at 8.21pm on Tuesday March 15 to a report of an assault on Chapel Street, Preston.

“The male victim reported that he was approached by a man, who punched him outside St Wilfrid’s Church, before running off in the direction of the bus station.

“He is described as aged in his 20s and was wearing dark coloured clothing at the time of the incident."

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