Gay man left bloodied and traumatised after yet another brutal homophobic attack in Liverpool

Two men have been arrested after a horrific homophobic attack in Liverpool that left a gay man bloodied and gripped by terror.

Aodhán Benson, 24 from Belfast, was attacked by four men on Bold Street in Liverpool in the early morning Saturday (10 July). He told PinkNews that he was out having drinks with friends celebrating their final day of university, and the group decided to walk to another bar when they were approached by four men.

Benson recalled that he was sitting down when one man asked him if he had “any change”. He said he responded that he didn’t have anything, and he was “sorry, love”. Benson told PinkNews the man immediately took offence to being called “love” and started shouting homophobic slurs at him.

“He went: ‘Why would you say “love”? What’s “love” about? Only f****ts would say “love”‘,” Benson said.

He responded that he is gay in a “defensive like joking” manner. But he said the other man kept going “on and on” so Benson told the other man to “go away”.

“He was like, ‘No gay c**t is gonna talk to me like that’, and I said, ‘Treat you like what?’,” Benson recalled. “And he was like, ‘Don’t tell me to f**king tell me to go away.’”

Benson told PinkNews that he then stood up to leave, but as he stood up, the other man head-butted him. He added that he believed the other man could have thought he was “going to hit him”, but he was trying to “walk away”.

He said he hit back to defend himself when the man’s three other friends came over and started attacking him.

Benson said the police were alerted to the incident and he was brought to the hospital by officers. He told PinkNews that he was left with a busted lip and permanent scarring on his nose as a result of the incident.

Benson added he wasn’t “worried about the physical side” of the attack, but the horrific incident has had a huge impact on his mental wellbeing. He said he’s “constantly being sick” because he is is “traumatised” and “shocked”.

“I can’t even count how many times I’ve been sick today just from pure nervousness and just feeling so alone,” Benson said.

He told PinkNews that he was meant to move country in a few weeks for a new job, but he’s now “so scared” and “frightened” to go forward with his future plans because of the attack.

Merseyside Police said in a statement that two men were arrested following witnesses coming forward and CCTV enquiries. A 43-year-old man from Liverpool was arrested on suspicion of Section 47 assault.

Another man, aged 33 from Sefton, was arrested on suspicion of assault and suspicion of possession of a Class A drug. Both men remain in custody for questioning, according to the police statement.

Chief inspector Col Rooney said the “appalling incident” left the young man “shaken and injured”. And even though arrests have been made, Rooney promised the investigations into the attack will continue.

“As well as physical violence, we believe that homophobic slurs were directed at the victim, and we are treating the attack as a hate crime,” Rooney said.

“This type of behaviour brings shame on our city, and it has outraged many people.”

There have been a ‘worrying’ number of homophobic incidents recently in Liverpool

Rooney said the police have been on high alert following a high number of attacks against the LGBT+ community in recent weeks. The police urged “any victim of homophobic, biphobic or transphobic hate crime on Merseyside to please come forward and let us know”.

Last month, a gay couple was attacked with a knife by a group of three men who called them homophobic slurs. A few days later, Josh Ormrod, a bisexual student in Liverpool, was brutally beaten by a stranger in Concert Square as he left a nightclub. A close friend of Ormrod’s was also assaulted within a few days of him.

Hundreds marched through Liverpool city centre in protest over the string of homophobic and transphobic attacks in the local area. Drag queen Angel Dewynter, who kicked off the speeches at the demonstration, said they had been “messaged about getting macheted and run over”.

Liverpool’s recently elected mayor, Joanne Anderson, condemned the attacks. She marched with the crowd, saying the anti-LGBT+ hate will not be tolerated “in our city”.