A RETAIL worker today told of the horror moment his friend was knocked unconscious by a homophobic thug after they left a gay bar near the Playhouse Theatre.
The two men, aged 26 and 27, had parted after leaving Planet Out on Baxter’s Place following a night out.
As the younger man passed the Tesco store on Picardy Place, he heard screams and turned to see his friend lying on the ground. He was then confronted by a man who said, “Are you a f****** p*** as well then?” before launching a vicious assault.
Police believe both revellers, who are gay, were attacked by the same man during the incident at around 12.20am on
The victim, who asked not to be named, said: “We’d decided to call it a night rather than go clubbing. I said goodnight to my friend and started walking back to York Place.
“I heard screaming and shouting and turned round to see my friend lying on the pavement. I ran over and found him knocked out cold. I had tunnel vision for my friend so I hardly noticed this man come up to me. He made a homophobic comment then punched me twice.”
The suspect fled with a woman, and both headed towards Leith Walk.
The victim added: “I had a cut lip and a bruised cheek. My friend was knocked out for about 30 seconds and needed two stitches to his eyelid.
“He never saw the person who hit him, but it seems likely it was the same man.”
Colin Macfarlane, director of gay rights charity Stonewall Scotland, said discrimination was not uncommon.
He said: “The sad reality for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Scots is that they face this sort of
homophobia, be it physical or verbal, every day on Scotland’s streets.
“The police response is very welcome as it shows they take homophobic hate crime seriously. Stonewall Scotland would urge anyone with information to speak to the police.”
The suspect is described as white, 20 to 25 years old, 5ft 8in tall with a slim build and long ear-length blond hair. He was wearing a dark blue top, light jeans and possibly spoke with a Fife accent.
Detective Sergeant Andy MacMillan said: “We are treating this as a homophobic assault and would urge anyone who remembers seeing anything suspicious in Picardy Place in the early hours of Saturday morning to contact police immediately.”