Homophobe who beat man unconscious and left him for dead jailed for five years

Aaron Rhoods jailed for five years for 2018 homophobic attack in Brighton

A man who launched a homophobic attack so severe his victim had to be resuscitated by paramedics has been jailed for five years.

Aaron Rhoods, 25, of Waterden Road in Guildford, was found guilty of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm on Wednesday (11 August) at Lewes Crown Court.

According to a Sussex Police statement, Rhoods was part of a group of several men who attacked a man in Kings Road, Brighton at around 3.30am on 14 October, 2018. The group hurled homophobic abuse at the victim, 32, before cornering and assaulting him.

Police said the group of men continuously hit the victim over the head with a bottle and caused him to lose consciousness in the street.

The victim was resuscitated when emergency services arrived after the attackers left the area, according to police.

Authorities said Rhoods and an accomplice – a 22-year-old man named Celso Dias of Disraeli Road, Wandsworth – were detained an hour after the attack. They were reportedly found trying car door handles, and police said both men matched descriptions of the attackers given by witnesses.

The two men were subsequently arrested and charged in relation to the homophobic attack. Rhoods was found guilty on 2 June, 2021 after several years of court hearings. He was also ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge as well as his custodial service.

Dias was given a supervision order for two years, the police said.

Investigating officer PC Russell Smith said in a statement that the convictions show that “despicable hate crimes” like this homophobic attack will not be tolerated in Brighton and Hove and that the “perpetrators will be brought to justice”.

“Brighton and Hove is a wonderful, vibrant city thanks in no small part to the incredible diversity and inclusivity of its residents,” Smith said.

Smith added that the police will “continue working to show that violence and hate is not welcome in our city”, and the area is a “safe place for everybody to enjoy”.