A man and woman were arrested this morning following a vicious homophobic attack in Piccadilly Gardens that saw a gay man ‘scarred for life’.
The pair were arrested in Clayton in connection with the assault after police launched a fresh CCTV appeal yesterday.
Jean Claude Manseau had been singing songs from the musical Wicked, which had prompted an argument on board the tram he was travelling on.
After he alighted at the Piccadilly Metrolink station, a mob of between 10 and 20 pounced on the 25-year-old, punching and kicking him unconscious.
The man, 29, and woman, 20, were arrested on suspicion of homophobically aggravated assault and remain in police custody for questioning.
Detective Constable Tim Greenwood of the City Centre division said: “We are treating this as a homophobic assault, as the men made homophobic comments to the victim as they attacked him.
“The attack was totally unprovoked and the message is clear: we simply will not tolerate it.”
Jean Claude was travelling with a friend to Manchester on the Metrolink at around 1am on Saturday November 1, when the argument broke out between him and another man.
After the verbal altercation, the man then followed Jean and his companion off the tram at the Piccadilly stop as they were heading towards Canal Street – the heart of Manchester’s gay community.
The man shouted at the victim, moments later the mob approached and beat Jean Claude until he lost consciousness – the gang fled the scene.
The vicious attack adds to the 278 violent offences motivated by a person’s sexual orientation recorded by Greater Manchester Police between January and October this year.
DC Greenwood said: “The victim was badly beaten and had to have stitches to his face, as a result of this vicious attack.
“I would urge anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information about what happened to contact police immediately.”
In an act of support for Jean Claude and a show of defiance against homophobia, Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus staged a heart-warming event entitled ‘Safe to Sing’ where hundreds took part in a mass sing-along.
The choir started with their musical operation on the Metrolink and continued to Piccadilly Gardens where the attack took place.
If you have any information about the incident please call police on 0161 856 3229 or independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Image courtesy of SoloM920, with thanks.