Police in England have arrested two men for a brutal attack on a gay university student that took place in Liverpool last weekend.
Aodhán Benson, 24, originally from Belfast, Ireland, but attending Liverpool Hope University, was brutally assaulted by three men as he walked home on Bold Street in the early morning hours last Saturday, July 10. His attackers then quickly fled the scene.
“‘Faggot gay cunt’ was what I heard before four men assaulted me in Liverpool not far from where someone died in a similar attack,” Benson posted to Twitter Saturday.
Benson posted to Instagram that he was out celebrating the end of studies for the summer when the assault occurred. He told Echo the incident started when he was approached on the street by a man who then took offense to Benson calling him “love.”
“Only faggots would say ‘love,’” Benson recalled the man saying.
The man grew increasingly agitated when Benson revealed he was gay, then threw a punch when Benson finally told the homophobic man to “fuck off.” He tried to fight back, but was overcome when two of the man’s mates quickly joined in the assault. Benson said his own friends were able to stop the beating, giving him time to snap a picture of his alleged assailants, which he posted to social media.
Using witness statements and CCTV footage, police quickly arrested two men in connection with the assault. A 43-year-old man from Liverpool and a 33-year-old man from Sefton were arrested on Section 47 assault charges. The Sefton man was also arrested on a Class A drug charge as well.
Merseyside Police and local LGBTQ+ groups issued a joint statement Monday regarding the attack and arrests.
“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,” Allison Woods, detective chief inspector, said in the statement.
Woods said police have no reason to believe the attack on Benson was related to other recent assaults in the area, but that they remain committed to stopping all hate crimes.
“Merseyside Police will continue working alongside our partners to stand united against hate crime in all its forms,” Woods said.
“The assault on Saturday was horrific, and like other recent hate crime incidents in Liverpool, this behavior has no place on our streets or online,” LCR Pride Foundation said in the joint statement Monday. “We’re committed to working with Merseyside Police to raise awareness, challenge hate crime and importantly, maintain a constructive dialogue with the Liverpool City Region's LGBT+ community.”