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20 year-old Derry student violently beaten in alleged homophobic attack

2016-04-19
A 20-year-old university student has been violently assaulted on the streets of Derry in an allegedly homophobic attack. Conol Cassidy, who studies Drama at the Ulster University, Magee, was on his way home from a night out with two friends last weekend when he claims two men started punching him and calling him a "faggot" and a "queer". He says he was walking to a shop near Guildhall Square accompanied by his friends - one of whom is another young gay man - when two men walked past them and one muttered "faggot" under his breath. “My friend told the two men they were out of order. I thought we’d resolved the matter because they started to walk away and so did we - the next thing I remember is the sound of footsteps behind me and the two men proceeded to ask the other young gay man and I if we were ‘faggots,’ he tells The Derry Journal. “When neither of the two us answered their question they started to attack the guy beside me.” Conol says he then tried to run into a nearby shop when he felt something strike him on the side of his face. "I couldn’t see because of all the blood, I held myself up against the shop to stop myself from fainting and I was punched again, they were laughing the entire time and ran away quickly after this - I could still hear them saying ‘faggots’ from a distance until they were both gone." He adds: "It was definitely a homophobic attack... I was attacked because I'm gay".

A photo posted by Conol (@conolcassidy) on

Conol says he no longer feels safe in Derry, but has decided to speak out because, "I want the two men who did this to see what they have done - I want their parents to see what they have done to someone who is only in Derry to better himself.” He says he intends to return home as soon as soon as possible after the semester ends, but maintains: "Derry is an incredible city and I am very happy to have moved here and I cannot let the minority of people, like those two men, ruin how amazing the city is." Police told the The Derry Journal that they are continuing to investigate the attack. In a Facebook post on the weekend, Conol said that due to the shares his statuses have received he has been able to find the two men he believes attacked him. More stories: James Franco: 'I'm a little gay' Is Hollyoaks' Harry about to cheat on Ste in exchange for money?