Three gay men were whipped and beaten in an unprovoked attack while returning home from a club in Oxford in the early hours of Sunday 19th September. Police officers who attended the scene said that they were “visibly shocked” at the brutality of the assault which took place during the early hours of Sunday 19th September.

Thomas Barnett, a former Oxford student, told the Oxford Mail, “My friend was heckled by a group of four men as he was walking down the street saying ‘Oi, baldy’. It was fairly innocuous stuff at first.

“Before I knew what had happened one of the assailants had pulled off his belt, which was leather with a metal buckle, and was using it as a weapon.

“First he lashed us across the body with the folded leather strap, and then used the buckle end of the belt as a whip, striking with unrestrained force.”

The assailant then attacked Mr Barnett’s friend, who has asked not to be named, with a leather belt. Mr Barnett explained, “First he lashed us across the body with the folded leather strap, and then used the buckle end of the belt as a whip, striking with unrestrained force.”

The third member of the group was also attacked with the belt, cutting his skull to the bone.

Mr Barnett continued: “The assailants only relented and fled when they panicked at the appalling sight of the torrent of blood pouring from the wound, filling my friend’s eyes and covering his face and body.”

Mt Barnett ran to find a police car which he had seen earlier, but by the time the officers arrived at the scene the assailants had fled. One of the victims was taken to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, spending four hours receiving treatment to his head. 

Crime statistics from Oxford and Thames Valley show a 50% increase in homophobic attacks over the past 12 months while transphobic incidences have doubled.

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