Ryan Winnard, 21, was walking hand-in-hand with Max Green, 18, when the gang of shameless thugs shouted homophobic slurs and launched a vicious attack. Max was hit in the back of the head, while Ryan was punched and attacked with a hammer. Ryan suffered a broken nose and a fractured cheek bone in the ordeal, which happened at around 8.15pm on Tuesday in Bury, Greater Manchester.
Speaking to Manchester Evening News about the ordeal, Ryan said: “We were holding hands and they started shouting over at us calling us f****** and gay boys.
“We carried on walking as we had no intention of starting any confrontation with them.
“Before we knew it, there were around five to six lads dressed in balaclavas and gloves running at us.
“They started attacking us, punching and kicking us, and were hitting me in the knees with a hammer.”
Max also suffered a deep abrasion to his head and a number of items, including a mobile phone and bank cards, were stolen.
Ryan, from Salford, Greater Manchester, said he called police shortly afterwards, but says it was more than two hours until emergency services responded to the report.
And he fears he’ll now never have the courage to hold his boyfriend’s hand in public again.
He said: “I should be able to walk around and hold my boyfriend’s hand without fear of something like this happening.
“It’s one of those things that you never think would ever happen to you but now it has.
“I don’t think I’ll ever, ever walk around Radcliffe again.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to hold my partner’s hand in the street again.”
The couple, who were were assessed by paramedics, are grateful for the support they’ve received since the ordeal.
But neither their possessiosn nor the attackers have been found.
“My mum was heartbroken when she found out it happened,” Ryan added.
“I’ve been overwhelmed with the support we’ve received from everyone.
“Everyone’s just trying to be there for us.”
A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said: “Enquiries established that a group of around five to six people, wearing balaclavas, approached two males before assaulting them and stealing property from them including a phone.
“The men were also subject to verbal abuse from the group.
“No arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing.”