By Chris Jaffray
A 22-year-old could have died after a gang of men allegedly told him ‘gays should die’ before stamping on his face in a sickening homophobic attack.
Ryan Turner, 22, was making his way home from a night out with friends in Preston, Lancs, at 6.30am on Saturday [Jul 13] when he was attacked by the group of up to seven men.
The hotel receptionist heard the gang say ‘gays should die’ before he was attacked from behind, shoved to the ground and knocked unconscious – waking up in hospital hours later.
Shocking images of his horrific injuries – including a burst lip, black eyes and swollen face – have prompted a huge outcry on social media.
Police have confirmed they are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
Devastated Ryan, from Preston, said: “I was just walking home from a night out, minding my own business.
“There was a group of lads one of them started throwing gay slurs to me and my friends – you can tell I am gay just by the way I am.
“The man was saying ‘you should die because you are gay’ so I said ‘there’s no need for that, just stay away’.
“The next thing I know one, came up behind me and struck me.
“I fell to the ground then he stamped on my face and I was knocked unconscious.
“When I woke up in hospital, the doctors told me I could have died.”
Ryan said he can’t remember anything after the men stamped on his face until he woke up in Royal Preston Hospital hours later.
He said doctors told him he could have died but after being given CT scans and pain relief he was discharged after nine hours and is now recovering at home.
But due to his public-facing job, Ryan has no idea when he will be able to return to work.
Ryan, who came out aged 15, has also revealed it is the THIRD time this year he has been attacked in Preston because of his sexuality.
The two previous attacks took place in January and March but on these occasions he was able to run away from his attackers.
He said: “The two other times I managed to cover my face.
“The other two were by the same group.
“I’ve been contacted by three people all saying they have suffered homophobic attacks in Preston.
“I really don’t know what is causing this, it is just shocking.”
A police spokeswoman said: “We were called around 6.30am on Saturday (July 13) following reports of an assault in Friargate, Preston.
“A man in his 20s had been punched by another man close to McDonalds.
“The offender then made off from the scene with two men and a woman.
“The victim was knocked unconscious suffering facial injuries.
“He later was taken to Royal Preston Hospital for treatment.
“The assault is being investigated as a hate crime and enquiries are ongoing.”