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Three homophobic assaults in Liverpool within a week: 'Homophobia still exists in 2021'

The attacks all happened in the Liverpool City centre area within days of each other.

2021-06-21

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Instagram/@josh.ormrod

Three Liverpool students have been the victims of horrifying homophobic or possible homophobic assaults within the past week, which the city’s Police and Crime Commissioner has described as “totally unacceptable”.

On Friday (18 June), an Instagram post from Josh Ormrod, 19, was circulated on social media after he was assaulted on Thursday night. Curtis Stewart, also 19, and Tyler Jones, all of whom are students in the city, have also taken to social media regarding their experiences.

Merseyside Police has said in a statement there have “several appalling hate crimes” within recent weeks and that it is “working tirelessly to find those responsible”.

 
 
 
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A post shared by josh ormrod (@josh.ormrod)

In a post uploaded on Friday, Josh Ormrod described the attack as “unprovoked and completely random” adding: “I’ve no idea who the man is, or if/how he knew me. it was broad daylight on a busy street.”

The 19-year-old, who identifies as bisexual, suffered a bruised face and chipped tooth in the incident, which took place on Fleet Street shortly before five o’clock in the morning as Josh and a friend left the Level club.

 
 
 
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A post shared by josh ormrod (@josh.ormrod)

One witness says they heard the attacker, a man, yelling a homophobic slur. According to Merseyside Police, a 26-year-old man from Bolton was arrested on suspicion of a Section 47 assault but has since been released under investigation.

In a separate incident on Monday last week (14 June) Josh’s friend Curtis was also attacked while in the city centre on Lord Nelson Street at around four o’clock in the morning. He also took to social media sharing an image of his bruised face.

 
 
 
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A post shared by CURTIS STEWART (@curtis_stewart_)

He said the incident, involving one man and two women, left him with fractures to the face and needing possible dental surgery. He said: “I did not know this man nor was it provoked by me. This assault could be the result of a hate crime and could have happened to anyone.”

He also urged people to raise awareness and not let anyone walk alone at night.

“HOMOPHOBIA STILL EXISTS IN 2021”

In yet another unprovoked attack, taking place around 10 or 11 June, Tyler Jones, his boyfriend, and another friend were all attacked in the city and had a knife pulled on them.

Also posting on Instagram Tyler said: “This was an unprovoked homophobic attack. It’s pride month and I should be celebrating my identity, but instead I am still victimised for it. HOMOPHOBIA STILL EXISTS IN 2021.

“Nobody is born this hateful, we need to do better. Do the research. Call out your friends. Educate your family. Learn from your mistakes.”

 
 
 
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A post shared by Tyler Jones (@tbjonesx)

He added that his group also had homophobic slurs yelled at them.

Responding to these attacks, Liverpool’s recently installed Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell said they were “totally unacceptable” and that she was “liaising with Merseyside Police”.

In a statement regarding Josh Ormrod’s case, Merseyside Police said: “Over the past few weeks there have been several appalling hate crimes in our city centre and we are working tirelessly to find those responsible and bring them to justice.

“Everyone in Merseyside has the right to go about their daily business without the fear of being subjected to verbal or physical abuse based on their sexuality, and we remain committed to ensuring they can.”

Update: 

In a statement, Superintendent Sarah Kenwright said, “Over the past few weeks there have been a number of appalling hate crimes targeting people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity in our city centre, and the injuries and abuse inflicted have shocked and rightly angered many.

“We have made several arrests and are working tirelessly to find all those responsible and bring them to justice.

She continued, “June is Pride Month and these incidents show why it’s so important that we support Pride and say loud and clear that we stand against abuse and violence towards LGBT+ people and will not tolerate discrimination from or against the people of Merseyside.

Supt. Kenwright has also assured people to come forward if they’ve been victims of similar hate crimes, saying they will be taken seriously.

“Everyone has a role to play in tackling homophobic hate crime, in educating future generations and eliminating it from society. We take our role in this extremely seriously and call upon all sections of society to stand with LGBT+ people and state very clearly that these incidents will never be tolerated.”