A near-fatal encounter following an after-hours party at London Pride has left a gay man with a broken back. Police are calling the incident a suspected hate crime as new information continues to surface.
“I’ve been out since I was 18 and never come across any hate stuff like this,” the victim, Tom Berwick, 50, told Metro UK.
Berwick was walking to catch a bus home from Greek Street in Soho toward Tottenham Court Road when he was viciously attacked from behind. He fell to the ground after feeling a crack in his back. He didn’t realize it at the time, but his back was broken.
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“I was out with my sister, my nieces and my friends, we had a lovely day out drinking,” Berwick recalled about London Pride prior to the attack. Then something shifted.
Berwick heard someone speaking in a homophobic manner and “I went straight down,” he said. “They took my phone and ran, it was all over in a second.”
The pet shop owner said he somehow maneuvered himself onto the train where he then collapsed.
“I just remember waking up on the Central Line, and then the pain really kicked in – it was excruciating,” he told the Evening Standard.
Officers soon discovered him at Stratford Underground Station. He was transported to the hospital immediately following.
Berwick was released from the hospital 10 days later. He would return home with a spinal brace and a prescription for a high dose of pain medication. He also began physiotherapy.
“Nothing like this has ever happened to me,” he said. “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.”
Even though officers have scoured the CCTV feeds in the area, no arrests have been made in this case.