Metro Weekly

Gay couple beaten with hammer and robbed by gang after holding hands

“I don’t think I'll ever be able to hold my partner’s hand in the street again,” one of the men said

gay, couple, attacked, england
Ryan Winnard and Max Green — Images: Facebook

A gay couple in England say they’ll never hold hands in public again after being attacked and robbed by a gang of men.

Ryan Winnard, 21, and Max Green, 18, were holding hands and walking together in Radcliffe, near the city of Manchester, when they were attacked on Nov. 23.

A group of men approached the couple around 8:15 p.m. and started yelling anti-gay slurs at them, they told the Manchester Evening News.

“We were holding hands and they started shouting over at us calling us faggots and gay boys,” Winnard said. “We carried on walking as we had no intention of starting any confrontation with them.”

However, the men proceeded to attack the couple, with Winnard reporting being struck repeatedly with a hammer.

“Before we knew it, there were around five to six lads dressed in balaclavas and gloves running at us,” he continued. “They started attacking us, punching and kicking us, and were hitting me in the knees with a hammer.”

The couple, who were walking home from Green’s grandparents’ house, said that the group of men also robbed them, taking Winnard’s “phone, bag, shoes, bank cards, keys — all of my belongings,” he said.

RelatedBritish man stabs gay man 12 times while yelling, “I’m not f***ing gay!”

Winnard was left with a broken nose and a fractured cheek bone, while Green suffered a deep cut to his head.

The couple contacted emergency services after the attack, but said it took two hours until anyone responded.

“It’s one of those things where we could have been laying on the floor unable to get up,” Winnard said. “They’ve been really good but when we needed them, they weren’t there.”

Greater Manchester Police confirmed to Manchester Evening News that they had received a report of robbery in Radcliffe.

“Inquiries 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,” a police spokesperson said.

“The men were also subject to verbal abuse from the group. No arrests have been made and inquiries are ongoing.”

RelatedGay couple brutally beaten outside gay club in ‘terrifying’ attack

The couple said they were scared to return to the scene of the attack — or show affection in public again.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to hold my partner’s hand in the street again,” Winnard said. “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.”

The attack is the latest in a series of assaults on gay men in England, which has seen the number of reported homophobic hate crimes treble between 2015 and 2020 — although LGBTQ charities say the statistics are only the “tip of the iceberg,” BBC News reported last year.

Last month, a gay couple was brutally beaten by a gang of people outside of a gay nightclub in Basildon, a gay man was beaten in the face with a wine bottle for holding hands with another man in public, and another gay man was punched in the face so powerfully that he was knocked unconscious and required surgery to prevent him losing sight in one of his eyes.

In August, two gay men were left with multiple fractures after they were beaten unconscious by a gang of teenagers in a grocery store parking lot.

People took to the streets of Liverpool, one of England’s major cities, in June to protest a recent spate of anti-LGBTQ attacks in the city, with police increasing their patrols to try and combat the violence.

North of the border in Scotland, a married gay couple was assaulted in the middle of a busy street earlier this year, leaving one of the men requiring hospital treatment.

Four men approached the couple and started to kick and punch them, while passersby watched, laughed, and recorded the attack on their phones.

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