Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Suspects Bailed after Homophobic Attack in Liverpool

Six teenagers have been arrested over a homophobic attack on an off-duty police officer that left him fighting for his life, police said.

Two 15-year-old boys were detained on Monday evening over the weekend assault on James Parkes in Liverpool city centre, and are being questioned by detectives.

Four other boys also arrested on Monday have been released on police bail pending further inquiries, Merseyside Police said.
Mr Parkes, 22, received multiple skull, eye socket and cheekbone fractures on Sunday night after being set upon by a gang in Stanley Street as he walked with friends.

He was admitted to hospital with critical injuries and remains in a serious but stable condition.

The two 15-year-olds arrested on Monday night were from the Kirkdale area of Merseyside, police said. The four others released - two 15-year-old boys, one boy aged 14 and a 17-year-old - were from the same area.

Pc Parkes was a Police Community Support Officer on Merseyside for a couple of years before joining the Merseyside force in May.

Police are scanning CCTV footage of the area as part of their investigation. Detective Chief Inspector Tim Keelan appealed for witnesses to come forward.

He said: "We are treating the assault as a homophobic hate crime and this incident shows there are still some people who have not learnt that crimes of this type are completely unacceptable. People who commit hate crimes can expect the full attention of the police and we will not rest until the offenders are brought to justice."

Merseyside Police said it has also stepped up high visibility patrols in the area to help reassure the public.

The latest attack comes just over a year after the murder of Liverpool teenager Michael Causer. It is also a month to the day since Ian Baynham was murdered in an attack by a gang of teenagers in Trafalgar Square.

A vigil in reaction to the attack will take place on Sunday 1st November at 8 pm on Stanley Street in Liverpool.

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