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LGBT group condemns homophobic Liverpool assault on Belfast man Aodhan Benson

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Aodhan Benson

Aodhan Benson

Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

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Aodhan Benson

A homophobic attack against a Belfast man in Liverpool has been condemned by the LGBT community in Northern Ireland.

Aodhan Benson (24) was attacked in the early hours of Saturday morning while out in Liverpool City Centre.

The Belfast man was set upon outside a supermarket on Bold Street by a group of men who shouted homophobic slurs.

Police were called at around 12.25am on Saturday morning and took Mr Benson to hospital. He suffered a busted lip, black eye, swollen nose and a cut above his eye.

Merseyside Police said two people have been arrested.

A 43-year-old man from Liverpool was arrested on suspicion of Section 47 Assault, while a 33-year-old man from Sefton has been arrested on suspicion of Section 47 Assault and on suspicion of possession of a Class A drug.

They remain in custody for questioning by detectives.

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The Northern Ireland LGBT group The Rainbow Project condemned the incident.

“We are sorry to hear about the homophobic assaults in Liverpool and most recently a fella from Belfast who was attacked. We hope Aodhan recovers from his injury,” it said.

“Hate crime is on the rise in both Liverpool and in NI, but a large percentage doesn't get reported.”

Merseyside Police Chief Inspector Col Rooney added: "This was an appalling incident which left a young man shaken and injured. Although we have made arrests, our investigations into the attack will continue.

"As well as physical violence, we believe that homophobic slurs were directed at the victim and we are treating the attack as a hate crime.

“This type of behaviour brings shame on our city, and it has rightly outraged many people. We share this anger - targeting anyone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity has no place whatsoever on Merseyside.

"High visibility officers are out tonight in Liverpool's Pride Quarter and beyond, and they will continue to patrol over the coming days and weeks.

“After a number of worrying incidents over the last month, we want our LGBT+ community to be reassured that we stand with them: we are committed to protecting them, and we will do whatever we can to bring offenders to justice.”


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