A gay man was brutally assaulted in an alleged homophobic attack after a night out in Nottingham, UK. Police said they have arrested a man and investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Trigger Warning: This story has details and visuals of a homophobic attack, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
In an interview with Attitude, 32-year-old Lewis North spoke of having a “really good day” on Saturday which included a hike and a round of bowling with friends.
However, in the early hours of Sunday morning, North was returning home from his night out in Nottingham when he was punched, spat and bitten by a man who had been following him.
The business owner left the local LGBTQI nightclub, New Foresters around 2:30 am on Sunday and was walking through the Victoria Centre, where he was verbally abused by a man who later physically attacked him.
The assailant threatened to stab North before assaulting him, using homophobic slurs, biting his ear, and spitting on him.
“He’s breathing down my neck and he’s telling me you’re a fucking faggot and scum of the earth”, North told Attitude.
“I turned around and I told him to fuck right off and then walked outside the shopping centre. I take three or four steps and then I am just thrown to the floor,” he said.
Victim Alleges Police Dismissiveness
North managed to reach out to emergency services and his friends. North accused the police of being dismissive and neglecting to document a statement about the attacks.
When police arrived on the scene, North told Attitude he informed them that he’d been assaulted and that they should arrest the man only to be told by one officer, “Don’t tell me what to do.” Following the assailant’s arrest, North reunited with his friends and returned home.
Chief inspector James Walker, hate crime lead for Nottinghamshire Police said in a statement, “We take all allegations of violence and hate crime very seriously and officers responded quickly to an assault in Milton Street on January 7 at around 2.35 am.”
“The victim, aged 32, was supported by officers at the scene after he was punched in the face. We arrested a 22-year-old man for Actual Bodily Harm. Currently, we are treating this as a hate crime. Investigations are ongoing and we continue to support the victim.”
I’m Scared Of Walking On My Own
North reflected on the police’s handling of the situation, expressing a desire for “some form of safety” but admitted, “I don’t have faith in the police in general.”
The brutal assault has left North with several injuries, including a swollen face, an injured nose, two black eyes, and a cut behind his right ear.
Speaking to PinkNews, he shared, “I don’t want to go back to [the location], but I don’t need to change the way I live my life because of one vicious attack which I didn’t cause.”
“I’m scared of walking on my own at the moment, but I’m taking steps to get me back to normal, to make sure I will come out of this stronger,” he added.