Gay man almost killed in suspected homophobic attack 'had gone out to make friends in new area'

A gay man who was almost killed after being savagely beaten in a suspected homophobic attack had been visiting a local bar to try and make friends after moving to a new area, his family have said. Carl Johnson remains in hospital after suffering a fractured skull, a bleed on the brain, as well as a broken jaw, hand and ribs during the violent attack in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, in the early hours of Sunday (August 13). He had spent the evening in a bar in the city after recently moving there for a new job. Police believe he was attacked by three men and a woman as he walked home. The group knocked the distribution centre worker to the floor before viciously beating him as he lay "curled up in a ball". Carl was rushed to hospital at around 1.50am after being found badly injured and has since been moved to a specialist brain injury unit at Salford Royal Hospital, where he remains seriously ill. He faces up to six months in recovery. Carl's family say they believe he was targeted because of his sexuality, saying that his "mannerisms and the way he speaks" make it "obvious" that he is gay. His brother Mark told told The Independent: “He had just moved to Rochdale and went out to make friends because he has none. He had met some people in the pub. Then outside he was attacked down the road." Carl has spoken to the police, but has only been able to provide them with a hazy account of what happened due to the severity of his condition. "He’s not doing great," Mark added. "He’s coming in and out of concussion and has had to switch to a stronger painkiller." Det Cons Craig Wallace, of GMP’s Rochdale borough, said: "This was a completely unprovoked attack on an innocent man who has been left with serious injuries. "Our thoughts are with the victim and his family at this time as he remains in hospital receiving treatment. "We have launched an investigation and I would ask that anybody who thinks they may know something that can assist with our investigation to please contact police." Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, quoting incident number 272 of August 13 - or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111. More stories: God’s Own Country stars talk gay sex scenes and Brokeback comparisons Steve Grand opens up about addiction struggle in Attitude’s September issue