Leading LGBT charity Stonewall slams savage homophobic attack on Ryan Williams in Preston city centre

A leading gay rights charity has condemned the savage attack on a young Fulwood man who was beaten unconscious by homophobic thugs in Preston city centre.

Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 12:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 1:49 pm
Ryan Williams, 22, was attacked near McDonald's in Friargate, Preston, Saturday, July 13. Pic credit: Ryan Williams

The attack on 22-year-old Ryan Williams outside McDonald's in Friargate on Saturday, July 13 is being investigated as a hate crime by Lancashire Police.

Police said the Holiday Inn receptionist was punched and kicked until he lost consciousness in an early morning attack outside the fast food outlet.

Ryan said he was targeted after bravely confronting a group of men and women who had taunted him with a tirade of homophobic abuse in the city centre.

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Ryan Williams, 22, was attacked near McDonald's in Friargate, Preston, Saturday, July 13. Pic credit: Ryan Williams

The vicious attack has led to widespread condemnation from the LGBT community, police and the wider public.

Britain's leading gay rights charity, Stonewall, said the attack is an "upsetting reminder" that more needs to be done to protect the LGBT community.

Laura Russell, director of campaigns, policy and research at Stonewall, said: "This horrific attack is another upsetting reminder of how much work we still have to do.

Stonewall has condemned the "horrific attack" on Ryan Williams and says more needs to be done to protect the LGBT community Pic: Ryan Williams

"It’s the fourth atrocious homophobic attack to have made headlines in the last six weeks, we need things to change.

"It’s vital that sentencing on anti LGBT-crimes is consistent with that of hate crimes for other protected characteristics such as faith and race, which at the moment it isn’t.

"The Law Commission in England and Wales have announced a review of sentencing last year, which is an important first step in this process.

"But these attacks aren’t isolated events. We know LGBT people often don’t report hate crimes they experience, whether that’s for fear of not being taken seriously or of being discriminated against further, or even not knowing that what they’ve experienced is a hate crime.

"We’ve been working with police across Britain to help them support LGBT people reporting abuse, and we encourage any LGBT person to talk to the police if you’ve experienced a hate crime by dialling 101 or reporting in person or anonymously online.

"We all have a part to play in making sure attacks like this no longer happen.

"We need people who believe in equality to take action and to come out for LGBT people.

"If you want a society where everyone feels safe, support LGBT charities, communities and your LGBT friends and family."

Lancashire Police confirmed they are investigating the incident as a hate crime, but no arrests have been made at this stage.