Terrifying spate of brutal homophobic attacks in Liverpool ‘not linked’, police say

Aodhán Benson Liverpool City Centre homophobic slurs

A string of brutal homophobic attacks in Liverpool are not thought to be linked, police have said.

Aodhán Benson, originally from Belfast, was left bloodied and bruised after four men attacked him in the early hours of Saturday morning (10 July) in Liverpool.

The violent attack was just the latest in a string of anti-LGBT+ incidents in Liverpool, with police urging all queer people who have been targeted to come forward.

Detective Chief Inspector Allison Woods said in a statement on Monday (12 July) that it appeared the attack on Benson was not connected to other hate crimes reported in recent weeks.

“We have a message for anyone who thinks intimidating another person or causing them physical harm based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is acceptable: it is not,” Woods said.

“For the vast majority of people across Merseyside, it is baffling that anyone could behave in such a way.

“We share their sadness and frustration. Everyone should be free to go out and enjoy themselves safely in Liverpool City Centre and beyond, and we will do all we can to keep our streets free from violence and abuse.”

Woods said police will be carrying out high visibility patrols in the city centre in the coming weeks in an attempt to prevent future hate crimes.

“As we have seen in the last 24 hours – officers and detectives will do everything in their power to track down anyone suspected of committing these offences, and we won’t hesitate to put them behind bars,” she said.

Two men arrested in connection with the attack on Benson remained in police custody on Monday morning.

“We believe that the attack was not pre-mediated or linked to other incidents in the city,” Woods said.

“Merseyside Police will continue working alongside our partners to stand united against hate crime in all its forms,” she said.

LGBT+ groups have condemned the spate of homophobic attacks in Liverpool

The spate of attacks have also been condemned by the LCR Pride Foundation and the Michael Causer Foundation, two LGBT+ groups based in Liverpool.

“The assault on Saturday was horrific, and like other recent hate crime incidents in Liverpool, this behaviour has no place on our streets or online,” LCR Pride Foundation said.

A spokesperson for the Michael Causer Foundation said: “It is almost 13 years since we lost Michael Causer – a life cut short by abhorrent homophobia.

“While our city region has always been welcoming and supportive of our truly diverse culture, recent events show we cannot be complacent in tackling homophobic attacks on our community.”

Benson’s attack is just the latest in a long line of homophobic attacks in Liverpool.

In June, a gay couple was attacked with a knife by a group of three men who used vile homophobic slurs. Just days later, Josh Ormrod, a bisexual student, was brutally beaten in Concert Square after he left a nightclub.

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Liverpool to protest against the wave of homophobic and transphobic attacks in June, with mayor Joanne Anderson calling for those responsible to be prosecuted.