55-year-old man hospitalised after ‘serious homophobic attack’ in London park

Police tape across a road

A 55-year-old man was hospitalised after what police have described as a “serious homophobic assault” in a south London park.

The attacker began shouting “homophobic abuse” at the victim before hitting him over the head, police said.

According to the Metropolitan Police, the victim was walking with two friends in Burgess Par, Southwark k at around 1.40am on 14 May when the attack took place.

The attacker fled the scene along Albany Road, and the victim was taken to hospital by emergency services. His condition was not life-threatening, according to the BBC

Police have obtained CCTV footage of a man walking along Albany Road, who is believed to be linked to the assault. A CCTV image of the suspect has been shared, but his face is not visible.

(MET Police)

He has been described as a “young man, possibly aged in his early 20s, who was wearing a stud earring and carrying a plastic JD Sports string bag on his back”.

“This sort of violence will not be tolerated, all the more so when exacerbated by a homophobic motive”, said the Met’s commander Dr Alison Heydari.

Heydari condemned the attack and confirmed that “officers from the Met’s Central South BCU are already working at pace to identify the man responsible”. 

“I can assure Londoners that our investigation will be thorough, well-resourced and as painstaking as necessary to bring the individual responsible to justice” she added. 

Police have requested anyone with information about the attack to call 101 and quote CAD 650/14may, or to anonymously contact Crimestoppers.

Following the easing of lockdown restrictions in 2021, the UK saw a concerning rise in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes. Major cities such as London and Liverpool have seen high numbers of homophobic and transphobic attacks over the past year, including the murder of a gay man in London last August

Stonewall’s associate director of policy and research, Eloise Stonborough, described the surge in hate crime as “worrying”, particularly as the pandemic left many LGBTQ+ people feeling “more isolated than ever.”