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Homophobic attack leaves gay man, 24, beaten and bloodied as two men arrested

A gay man was left beaten and bloodied in a sickening homophobic attack.

Aodhán Benson, 24, was attacked outside a Tesco in Liverpool by a group of me calling him homophobic slurs. The police were called around 12.25am on Saturday morning and he was taken to hospital.

Mr Benson told the Liverpool Echo: "If this is what being gay means, then I don't want to be gay. Literally, if this is what my sexuality results in, then I'll not be gay then, if you just leave me alone.

"Because I'm only 24, so what happens if it happens when I'm 34, 44, 54. How many more times will it happen to me? Like, why are people so horrible? It's just sick."

Two men have since been arrested.

A graduate of Liverpool Hope University, Mr Benson was sat at the top of the street with friends when he says a man approached them.

Mr Benson said the man took issue with him calling him 'love'.

He said: "He went, 'Love, why would you say 'love'? Only f*****s would say love'. And I was like, 'Well I am a f*****'. And he went, 'You're a what?' I was like, 'I'm a f*****', because I'm not ashamed to say it."

The graduate said he told the man to "f*** off".

Mr Benson continued: "He went: 'Don't speak to me like that, you f***** c***, you gay f***** c***'. And then he punched me. Now, I have to fully put my hands up, I hit him back.

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"Like I wasn't going to stand and let him hit me. But two of his friends then came and I was like, 'Well I can't hit all three of them'.

"It was just really scary, just because like, when all three of them were hitting me, I was like 'Oh my god what if I die?'

"I know that sounds so dramatic, and I hate being so, I don't know, dramatising it, but the boy that died on Hanover Street as well. I was like: 'What if I actually die?'"

Mr Benson said his friends intervened, giving him enough space to run across the street while they took photos of the men. One of his pals called the police, who attended the scene and took the young man to hospital.

He said he left hospital around 11am on Saturday with a busted lip, black eye, swollen nose and a cut above his eye.

Police say CCTV and witness enquiries are ongoing to identify the suspects.

Two men have been arrested after the attack left the victim feeling he would die.

Following witness and CCTV enquiries, a 43-year-old man from Liverpool have been arrested on suspicion of assault.

And a 33-year-old man from Sefton has also been arrested on suspicion of assault and on suspicion of possession of a Class A drug.

Merseyside Police's Chief Inspector Col Rooney branded the attack an "appalling incident", adding despite the arrests made investigations are still ongoing.

"As well as physical violence, we believe that homophobic slurs were directed at the victim and we are treating the attack as a hate crime," he continued.

"This type of behaviour brings shame on our city, and it has rightly outraged many people.

"We share this anger – targeting anyone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity has no place whatsoever on Merseyside."

Ch Insp Rooney went on to say high visibility officers were out in and around Liverpool's Pride Quarter last night and will continue to patrol over the coming days and weeks.

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