Police Commissioner praises courage of Manchester Village Angel

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The bravery of a volunteer who was attacked while helping vulnerable people in Manchester’s Gay Village has been commended by Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd.

Lee Macintosh was punched in the face and suffered homophobic abuse in an unprovoked assault by Jaroslaw Psiuk last November.

Mr Macintosh was working as a Village Angel – a scheme run by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation – when the attack occurred.

Mr Psuik brushed past Mr Macintosh as he staggered down Canal Street. He asked him if he was ok and offered to help him but the man responded by swearing and challenging him to a fight.

When Mr Macintosh and two fellow volunteers tried to move him on, Mr Psuik punched the victim in the face while shouting homophobic abuse.

Condemning the attack, Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “This was an assault and a hate crime. Lee was just trying to help this man and it’s sickening that his response was not of thanks, but of violence. Behaviour like this cannot be tolerated and I commend Lee for coming forward and reporting it so that Psuik could be brought to book and face his crimes.

“The Village Angels give up their own time every weekend to help vulnerable people and make sure everybody has a safe night out. It’s an invaluable scheme and the Angels do an important job and that’s why it’s so abhorrent that one of them has been attacked in this way.

“Hate crime is vicious and unacceptable and we need to stand together against it. If you’ve been a victim of hate crime, please don’t suffer in silence. Come forward and report it so you can get the support you need and the offender brought to justice.”

Speaking of his ordeal, Mr Macintosh said: “I’ve always thought Greater Manchester Police to be approachable which is why I had the courage to come forward and report this attack. I wanted to make an example of Psuik and send a message to the LGBT community that if they are a victim of hate crime, don’t be afraid to report it. There is help available and the perpetrators can be brought to justice.”

Mr Psuik received a 12-month community order, a six-month supervision order and was ordered to do 40 hours unpaid work.