Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels
Police are appealing for witnesses after two gay men were attacked by a large gang in Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire over the weekend.
The victims, aged 22 and 25, were waiting outside a Waitrose in the town shortly after 02:00 am on Sunday (8 August) when a group of 10 teenagers - thought to be between 16 and 17 - assaulted the pair.
One of the men was knocked unconscious in the attack and both were taken to hospital for their injuries.
The gang is said to have approached the men, who were waiting for a lift with friends, and used homophobic language, according to The Sun.
The 22-year-old victim who was knocked unconscious suffered fractures to his eye socket, cheek and nose, while the 25-yar-old victim was left with a split eyebrow, jaw fractures and cuts to his face and hands.
Ambulances took both victims to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow.
Investigator Gary Bangs, from Hertfordshire police's East Herts local crime unit described the incident as a “despicable attack,” that was, “completely unprovoked”.
He added that both men are being supported by officers and has appealed for anyone with any information to come forward adding hate crime would “not be tolerated.”
Anyone with information can email [email protected] or call 101, quoting crime reference 41/60806/21. Information can also be reported online at herts.police.uk/report or via web chat at herts.police.uk/contact.
A spokeswoman for the police has said: "Hertfordshire Constabulary is determined to ensure that LGBT+ communities feel comfortable to approach the force should they ever need to and build confidence within them that they will be taken seriously and treated with sensitivity.
"As part of this, the constabulary has LGBT+ liaison officers who are based all over the county and have been specially trained to support people from LGBT+ communities.”