A gay couple were viciously beaten with bottles in a homophobic attack on Christmas day.
The couple and their two friends were punched and kicked in the head and body by a “group of about 15”.
They were outside a pub in Thornaby, North Yorkshire when they were attacked by what they called a “homophobic gang”.
Jayson Homer, his partner, their friend Marc Vasey and another female friend were at the pub for a festive drink.
They say that issues began around 8.30pm when they were verbally abused over Homer’s partner’s religion by people in the pub.
The anonymous 21-year-old said to local press outlet, Gazette
Live: “At first a girl in the group started taking the mick out of me for being Jewish.
“Then another lad from the group came over saying being Jewish was a race.
“I was disagreeing with him and it was just a little debate really at first.
“But then the girl started shouting ‘queer’ at me.
“Every time I went to the toilet someone said it while I was walking past,” he added.
The four stood their ground at first, refusing to be intimidated.
However, trouble broke out in the pub and so they decided to leave.
The physical attack occurred outside the Thornaby Road pub at about 11.15pm when they were attacked from behind by an estimated 15 people
Homer, 20, said: “I was bottled in the face. I couldn’t really see what was happening because they had knocked my glasses off and my eye was filled with blood.”
He underwent a CT scan at the hospital to check for potential brain damage.
His partner suffered bruising across his body and a black eye.
Further checks at the hospital confirmed he did not have cracked ribs or a broken nose, as initially thought.
Vasey, 21, suffered a black eye and nerve damage to his cheek.
Jayson called the attackers “arrogant” and said there is “no place” for homophobia in 2016.
He said: “It was calculated, they followed us down with weapons.
“We didn’t want any trouble. I could understand if we had provoked them but we were just minding our own business. They started off calling us and then it escalated.
“To tell the truth it left me feeling suicidal.
“I was petrified to go out of my front door but I’m not going to let it stop me living my life.”
Cleveland Police are investigating the attack and are urging anyone with information to call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
Watch the interview with victims: