Police have released CCTV stills of five men wanted in connection with a brutal homophobic attack after a Valentine’s Day dinner.
Phil Poole, 35, and boyfriend Zbynek Zatloukal, 26, were traveling on a London-bound train from Reading when they were jumped by a group of men around 1:05am on February 15th, Valentine’s Day.
Poole told the Standard that the group “yelled a homophobic slur at Mr. Zatloukal while Mr. Poole slept on his shoulder after the pair missed their stop at Maidenhead.”
Mr. Poole was left with severe cuts and bruises and was knocked unconscious in the horrific subsequent attack which saw them hit and kicked repeatedly despite trying to get away.
His partner suffered a suspected broken eye socket and had his front teeth knocked out.
Investigating British Transport Police officer PC Peter Taylor said: “This was a very nasty assault committed by a group of men who attacked two other men while they were sleeping on the train.
“The victims believe the motivation for the attack was that the offenders thought they were gay.”
Mr. Poole told the Standard: “I can’t really remember much about what happened because I was in such shock when I woke up.”
“I managed to get up and stumble down the carriageway but then they followed me.”
“I’m not a violent person at all. I’ve never even been punched so I didn’t even know how to defend myself.”
PC Taylor added: “Hate crime such as this will absolutely not be tolerated by British Transport Police.”
“I would like to speak to anyone who recognizes the men shown in the CCTV images as they may have information which could help with the investigation.”