Homophobic assault ‘victim’ fell on pavement

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Police have revealed a man who complained he had been the victim of a homophobic attack had in fact fallen over and injured himself.

The 18-year-old from Blackpool had been on a night out in Preston on Wednesday, February 26 when he received serious facial injuries.

He told police he had been the victim of a homophobic assault, but CCTV footage shows the injuries were received when he fell face-first onto the pavement.

Det Insp Paddy O’Neill said: “We managed to recover some CCTV footage which shows the injured party falling face-first onto the pavement. We have showed him the CCTV and he now accepts his injuries were caused during the fall.

“Having had oversight of the investigation since its inception and taking into account the full circumstances, I accept his report was made in good faith.

“I am conscious that the initial reports into this incident will have been very upsetting for a number of people, and Preston city centre was portrayed in a very negative light. Thankfully, there was no homophobic assault or any other assault on this occasion.

“The investigation into this matter is indicative of the lengths we will go to when investigating reports of violent crime in the city. We believe assaults, and hate crime assaults in particular, are under-reported for many reasons.

“Lancashire Constabulary is committed to ensuring that all forms of hate crime are investigated thoroughly; any reports made to the police will be taken seriously.”