Content warning: Contains homophobia and topics that readers may find upsetting.
The gang hurled homophobic abuse at the couple as they held hands before attacking them.
Ryan Winnard, 21, was walking with boyfriend Max Green, 18, in Bury, Greater Manchester at 8.15pm on Tuesday evening (November 23) when a group of men approached and attacked them, reports Manchester Evening News.
The gang reportedly yelled homophobic slurs at the couple as they held hands, then as the victims tried to walk away they were physically assaulted and robbed. Max was hit in the back of the head and Ryan was punched and attacked with a hammer.
Uploading the images to Facebook, Winnard said: “Around 6 lads targetted us just purely based on the fact we was linking in the street, which i can only asume we was targetted for that reason”, detailing that the attackers used a hammer as a weapon and stole his coat, bag, phone, house keys, bank cards and shoes.
Speaking to the MEN, the victim said:
“We were holding hands and they started shouting over at us calling us f*****s and gay boys.
“We carried on walking as we had no intention of starting any confrontation with them.
“Before we knew it, there were around five to six lads dressed in balaclavas and gloves running at us.
“They started attacking us, punching and kicking us, and were hitting me in the knees with a hammer.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever, ever walk around Radcliffe again,” Winnard said.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to hold my partner’s hand in the street again.
“I should be able to walk around and hold my boyfriend’s hand without fear of something like this happening.
“It’s one of those things that you never think would ever happen to you but now it has.”
Greater manchester Police are said to be investigating and a spokesperson said: “Enquiries established that a group of around five to six people, wearing balaclavas, approached two males before assaulting them and stealing property from them including a phone. The men were also subject to verbal abuse from the group. No arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing.”
The UK has seen a surge in violence against LGBTQ+ people in 2021 and sadly this is just another case to add to the pile of alarming statistics.