Curtis Stewart’s bruised face after Liverpool city centre assault (Instagram/curtis_stewart_)
Merseyside’s crime commissioner has condemned a spate of homophobic attacks targeting LGBT+ people across Liverpool during Pride month.
At least four assaults with homophobic undertones have been reported in local media over the last month, most happening in the city centre, with three of them occurring in the past 10 days.
Victims have shared photographs of their bloodied faces on social media, including 19-year-old Josh Ormrod, who was beaten so hard he feared he’d broken his eye sockets.
“The attack was unprovoked and completely random – I’ve no idea who the man is, or if/how he knew me. It was broad daylight on a busy street,” he said on social media.
A close friend of Ormrod’s was also assaulted within days of him, and a week prior a gay couple were attacked with a knife by a group of three men hurling homophobic slurs.
Emily Spurrell, Merseyside’s recently-installed crime commissioner, condemned the crimes as “totally unacceptable”.
“I’m aware of reports of another homophobic attack in the city centre. This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable,” she said. “I’m liaising with Merseyside Police for more info.
“All incidents of hate crime can be reported anonymously to @stophateuk or online at stophateuk.org.”
With fear rising among Liverpool’s LGBT+ community, yet another victim, Curtis Stewart, spoke out about an assault on 14 June that left him with severe facial injuries needing potential dental surgery.
He described his alleged attacker as a man aged 18-24 with fair, shoulder-length hair, dressed in grey shorts and grey top and accompanied by two women.
“I did not know this man nor was it provoked by me,” he said. “This assault could be the result of a hate crime and could have happened to anyone.
“I’m urging you to please spread awareness about this to help others and please do not walk alone by yourself especially at night.”
A recent statement from Merseyside Police indicated an apparent rise in hate crimes in the city in the last few weeks.
A spokesperson said: “Over the past few weeks there have been several appalling hate crimes in our city centre and we are working tirelessly to find those responsible and bring them to justice.
“Everyone in Merseyside has the right to go about their daily business without the fear of being subjected to verbal or physical abuse based on their sexuality, and we remain committed to ensuring they can.
“I would take this opportunity to urge any victim of hate crime on Merseyside to please come forward and let us know. We have a team of officers and staff dedicated to protecting vulnerable people – including minority groups – who will make sure you will be supported at every step as sensitively as possible.”