Man suffered broken back in homophobic attack at London Pride

A man whose spine was fractured in a homophobic attack during London Pride today said his life has been "ruined" by his assailant.

Tom Barwick was brutally kicked in the back as he made his way home late at night following the Pride parade in London last month.

His attacker called him a "f****** p***" immediately before the attack. Mr Barwick was struck on the back and suffered a fracture to his spine, before his attacker stole his phone and ran off.

Police are treating the incident as a hate crime .Pet-shop-owner Mr Barwick50, from Debdenin Epping Forest, is now fearful for his livelihood as he is housebound on crutches and cannot work.

Mr Barwick said: "I was out with my sister, my nieces and my friends, we had a lovely day out drinking. Pride is brilliant, the atmosphere is so amazing.

"You meet so many people and I'm very social, I talk to everybody. Then we went down to Soho afterwards."

Mr Barwickwas in Soho with friends after the festivities, and walked down Greek Street at around 1am towards the neareststation on his way home.

"A second later I felt a crack on my back like I was kicked," he said. "I went straight down. They took my phone and ran, it was all over in a second."

He was left in a heap but was somehow managed to get on a Central Line train to Stratford - and passengers rushed to his aid when they noticed he was in pain. But he doesn't remember how he got on the train.

"I just remember waking up on the Central Line, and then the pain really kicked in - it was excruciating," he told the Standard.

He spent 10 days in hospital, and wasreleased with a spinal brace and put on a high doseof painmedication. He has alsostarted a course of physiotherapy.

"Nothing like this has ever happened to me," he said.

"I've been out since I was 18 and never come across any hate stuff like this."

He said he has had amazing support form his family after the attack.

He added: "I'm not working at the moment, my shop is struggling, I'm relying on friends and family and borrowing money to keep myself going. It's horrible."

He has even opened a crowdfunding page on Gofundme , asking people for financial support while he undergoes treatment.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said the incident was being treated as a homophobic hate crime . There have been no arrests.

"Detectives have carried out extensive CCTV enquiries to identify the suspect(s)," said a spokesman for the Met.

"They would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the assault which happened following Pride in London. The area would have been busy at the time. Officers would also like to speak with anyone who helped him off the tube at Stratford."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Community Safety Unit at Westminster via 101, or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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