A man fears he could lose his eyesight after being punched in an unprovoked attack, believed to be a hate crime, in Birmingham’s Gay Village.
In the early hours of September 30, Matt Brooks, 52, was punched in the face in Birmingham’s gay village leaving him unconscious, whilst his attacker fled the scene.
Speaking to Birmingham Live, the victim said it was the forth time he had been attacked in the last year: “I’d finished work at midnight and went for a couple of pints at Missing Bar.
“Closing time was about 2am and I went over the road to get some chips. I sat against the window of Urban Kitchen when a guy came out of nowhere and just hit me”, he explained.
“It was completely unprovoked and went straight for me. I have no real memory of it.
“The first thing I remember is being on the floor and there was an off-duty fireman and another man, both passers-by, who were helping me. I can’t thank them enough.”
“He just hit me and did a runner. It wasn’t a fight. It was a proper punch.”
Brooks, who suffered a fractured eye socket and needed emergency surgery, said that the attack was “more than likely” a hate crime. Doctors are said to be working to relieve pressure on the injured eye, but it is still unclear whether he will keep his vision.
This latest attack comes after a series of homophobic hate crimes in the UK in 2021. Just back in August, two men were beaten with bottles – also in Birmingham’s Gay Village – and there has been a spate of other incidents across the country.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street called the incident “a ghastly crime” and West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster vowed to make fighting homophobic crime a top priority: “Hate crime will not be tolerated in the West Midlands”.
“Tackling hate crime is a top priority. It is important that we encourage and facilitate reporting, hold perpetrators to account and ensure that the right support is available at the right time for victims”, Foster continued.
“It is very important that we all actively advance and promote justice, equality and diversity both for and with our LGBTQ+ community, because we are all stronger together”.