Gay police officer victim named as James Parkes.
A GAY man is fighting for his life today following a vicious gang beating in Liverpool city centre.
The 22-year–old, who the ECHO understands is a trainee constable with Merseyside police and has been named as James Parkes, was attacked by up to 13 people at 10pm last night when out with three friends on Stanley Street.
He is currently in hospital with multiple skull fractures, a fractured eye socket and a fractured cheek bone.
Three youths, two aged 15 and another aged 14, from Kirkdale have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Stanley Street will remained closed until police forensics have completed their investigations.
A spokeswoman for Merseyside Police said: “We were called to reports of a serious assault on Stanley Street at 10pm last night.
“The victim was taken to hospital with serious head injuries.
“He has suffered multiple fractures to his skull, a fractured cheek bone and a fractured eye socket.
“We are treating the incident as a homophobic attack.
“We believe from witnesses there may have been up to 13 people involved in the attack aged 15–18.
“Three youths from Kirkdale have been arrested on suspicion of assault in connection with the incident. There are two aged 15 and a 14 year–old.
“The road will remain closed until the forensic teams have completed their investigations.
“Once residents leave their premises we are asking that they don’t return until later today.
“We are trying to preserve the crime scene as much as possible.”
Stanley Street is at the centre of Liverpool’s gay culture, with several gay friendly bars and plans for it to grow to rival Manchester’s famous Canal Street.
The attack comes just a week before the opening of Liverpool’s annual gay festival, Homotopia. In its sixth year, it is branded Homotopia NOT Homophobia for 2009.
Its Facebook site today said: “This has to stop. Enough is enough.” Director Gary Everett said: "This is devastating to wake up to. I am really very shocked.
"For the past five years we have raised money to work closely with schools, the media and the wider community to get out how homophobia ruins lives.
"This is exactly what we have been working to avoid. My heart goes out to this man and I wish him a speedy recovery."
DCI Tim Keelan, said: "I would appeal to anyone who may have information which could help us to catch those responsible for this despicable crime to come forward.
Intensive inquires are taking place and we are currently examining cctv
footage from around the time of the incident to identify those responsible.
"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.
The offenders will learn their lesson the hard way. "We have stepped up high visibility patrols in the area to reassure the
public and we would urge the community to help us with our enquiries and find those responsible." He added: "Merseyside Police is commited to taking robust and positive
action when investigating hate crimes."The force has a number of specialist Sigma Investigation Units, which provide support for victims whilst at the same time taking action to arrest
and prosecute offenders. The Sigma Unit in Liverpool North is involved in this investigation and will be working with the victim in this case."Witnesses should call St Anne’s Street CID on 0151 777 4064 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. THE ECHO