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This piece initially ran on Advocate.com. Read the original here.
A gay couple cuddling against the cold in the U.K. was attacked by three young men yelling homophobic slurs earlier this month, and now the pair are afraid to leave their own home because one of their alleged attackers lives nearby.
Greg Miedzwiecki, 30, and Lee Cameron Trussler, 28, of Southhampton were attacked early on the morning of May 2 as they waited for a taxi with a third friend after visiting the Edge nightclub. Miedzwiecki told the Daily Echo he and Trussler were holding hands and cuddling against the cold when a group of young men approached from across the street yelling homophobic slurs.
"Three guys crossed the road, saw us cuddling because it was cold and they went in on us,” Miedzwiecki told the outlet. "They started calling us queers, and all that stuff.”
Miedzwiecki began recording the encounter with his phone and shouted “how dare you” at the group. He said one of the men then punched him in the face, and the other two men attacked Trussler when he came to Miedzwiecki’s aid.
“They slapped me in the face and pushed me down. They had me on the floor kicking my face,” Trussler told Pink News, adding that he was knocked unconscious during the attack.
“I woke up to my friend telling me to wake up,” Trussler said. “I was spitting blood and I’d cut my tongue and lip open. I was crying.”
Miedzwiecki said he was able to call the police while Trussler was on the pavement being beaten by the assailants. The group fled at this point, he said, and police later took the pair to a local hospital where they were treated for bruises and a large cut on Trussler’s tongue.
He posted images of the alleged assailants in a social media post.
The couple told Pink News they are now afraid to leave their home.
“We haven’t left the house much since the incident,” Miedzwiecki said. “We found out one of the [alleged attackers] actually lives near us.”
The Hampshire Constabulary is asking for any witnesses to contact them referencing case number 44220171297.