A gay couple has been left traumatised after being the victims of a brutal attack by a gang of people wearing balaclavas.
Content warning: This story may include topics that could make some readers feel uncomfortable.
Ryan Winnard and Max Green were walking on Coronation Road in Radcliffe, Bury on the evening of 23 November when they were approached by a group of men.
Both Winnard and Green were then subjected to homophobic abuse before being attacked as they attempted to walk away holding hands.
Green was hit in the back of the head and Winnard was left with a broken nose and fractured cheekbone after being attacked with a hammer.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Winnard said: “Me and my boyfriend were heading home from his grandparents and as we were walking we could hear a group of lads.”
The 21-year-old explained that “around five to six” men ran at the couple.
He added: “We were holding hands and they started shouting over at us calling us f*****s and gay boys.
“We carried on walking as we had no intention of starting any confrontation with them.
“Before we knew it, there were around five to six lads dressed in balaclavas and gloves running at us.
“They started attacking us, punching and kicking us, and were hitting me in the knees with a hammer.”
The couple fear that they will never be able to hold hands in public again after what they endured, which also included the theft of a mobile phone and bank cards.
“I don’t think I’ll ever, ever walk around Radcliffe again,” Winnard said.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to hold my partner’s hand in the street again.
“I should be able to walk around and hold my boyfriend’s hand without fear of something like this happening.
“It’s one of those things that you never think would ever happen to you but now it has.”
Winnard explained that he and his partner had to wait over two hours for emergency services to arrive after calling for help, but added that they have “been really good” since then.
Greater Manchester Police confirmed that they are still investigating the incident.
A spokesperson said: “Enquiries established that a group of around five to six people, wearing balaclavas, approached two males before assaulting them and stealing property from them including a phone.
“The men were also subject to verbal abuse from the group.
“No arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing.”
Galop is an LGBTQ+ charity there for those who have experienced abuse or have been the victim of a hate crime. They can be contacted Monday to Friday from 10am-4pm on 0207 7042040 or at HateCrime@galop.org.uk. You can find out more about them here.