A gay man has spoken out after the thug who left him with facial injuries after a savage homophobic attack was spared a jail sentence.
Ryan Turner, now 24, has permanent scarring to his face after being branded a “faggot” and knocked out during the attack outside a McDonald’s in Manchester in 2019.
The hotel receptionist and drag performer was too terrified to return to the city after the incident, and was forced to give up his drag career.
Brandon Forrester, 19, admitted causing actual bodily harm in a delayed hearing at Preston Crown Court last week, but was let off with an 18-month suspended sentence, meaning he will not face jail unless he faces new charges.
Victim of homophobic attack ‘didn’t sleep and drank for months’.
According to Metro, Turner said: “As soon as the judge said the sentence was suspended I just left, I don’t know how I feel about it.
“It’s been the longest 18 months of my life, I’ve gone through so many emotions… I’ve been put through emotional and physical trauma and after 18 months it feels like nothing has come of it.
“I’ve never been through anything like this. And he’s just been told not to do it again.”
However, he stressed: “I want people to be brave and speak out if things like this have happened to them.
“People think homophobia isn’t an issue anymore but things like this are still happening to people just because of who they are. I didn’t sleep for months, I drank for months, it was horrible.
“Part of me feels like everything I have been through for the last 18 months is for nothing, but if my story helps someone else then it was worth it.”
Thug shouted anti-gay epithets before brutal attack.
The court heard that Forrester, who was celebrating his 18th birthday at the time, had approached Turner and his friends and shouted “gay is wrong” and “you all need to die”.
After being challenged over his homophobic comments, Forrester punched Turner to the ground, knocking him out immediately.
Turner, from Preston, said he has not returned to Manchester since the attack. He added: “If he hit me two inches up doctors said I would have died. He scarred my face, my lips, my eyebrows.”
Judge David Potter said Forrester had “clearly drunk far too much and became involved in this horrendous attack.”
Turner previously said he lost his confidence after the attack, in part due to the extent of his facial injuries, and he gave up modelling and his drag work until late last year.
He said: “He made me question myself a lot. I put have spent two months driving every night, not sleeping, questioning if I wanted to be here and if I wanted to go down the path of being gay.”