A MAN has told how he was the victim of a savage attack by a homophobic gang – because he refused the advances of their female friend.
Heterosexual Alex Schofield, 25, needed surgery to repair a broken arm after he was repeatedly kicked and stamped on by several men in Leeds city centre.
They shouted anti-gay abuse at him after setting on him as he walked home with a friend after a night out, shortly after the high-profile Leeds Pride event.
Police have now released CCTV images of a group they want to talk to over the attack.
“It’s important they’re brought to justice for the safety of others as well as myself,” Mr Schofield told the YEP.
“If it had been someone less able than me to defend themselves, it could have been a lot worse.”
Mr Schofield, who works as a project manager for a large retail firm, was with his friend on New York Street near Leeds bus station when the incident happened in the early hours of August 4.
They were walking past a group of people when a woman shouted at them.
He said: “It all happened very quickly.
“This woman shouted ‘Do you want any business lads?’
“We just said no thanks and tried to laugh it off and then one guy started shouting at us ‘What do you mean ‘no thanks’? What’s wrong with you?’
“He came over and went for me, got me to the floor and then four others came over and decided they were going to join in. They were kicking me and stamping on my head.
“One of them shouted ‘take that f****t. They must have thought I was gay because it was just after the Leeds Pride event.
“I managed to wriggle free and get away. My arm was just hanging down – I could tell it was badly broken.”
Mr Schofield had to have plates and pins put in his arm.
He has been off work for nearly a month and estimates it will take him three to four months to recover fully.
“I’m quite a resilient person but it has affected me because it’s taken away my independence,” he said.
Police are treating the attack as a homophobic incident.
Anyone with information should call PC Matt Thirkill, from Leeds City Neighbourhood Policing Team, via 101.