The gang attack on a teenager ‘goth’ is being treated as a hate crime, police have confirmed.
Eighteen-year-old Ryan Winnals was beaten so badly outside Tesco in Huthwaite on Saturday that he needed surgery to repair his shattered jaw.
Up to eight thugs are thought to have been involved in the attack on Ryan, who police suspect was targeted because he was dressed all in black.
Sergeant Dean Dakin of the Ashfield North Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This incident has been treated as not just a very serious assault but as a hate crime since the circumstances became clear shortly after it was reported to us on Saturday.
“We treat all incidents of hate crime extremely seriously indeed and that includes crimes against people who identify with alternative lifestyles and sub-cultures.
“We have put the victim’s family in touch with the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.
“This specifically addresses issues for those people who choose to live an alternative lifestyle.
“Anyone who is being harassed or threatened because of the lifestyle they lead, their image or their personal circumstances should feel confident to report it to us by calling 101 or contacting us via our social media channels.
“Our CID team continues to investigate the assault and we would like to hear from anyone who has information about the incident. Please call 101, quoting incident number 613 of 21 May.”
Joinery student Ryan, who attends Vision West Notts spent three days in hospital and had to undergo surgery at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham to repair his jaw that was shattered in the unprovoked attack. He also suffered a broken nose.
He had been planning to meet a girl he had been chatting with on social media when he was approached by the gang of youths at around 4pm.
But his guardian, Kelly Wilcockson, fears he was either set up, or it was a hate crime because he dresses all in black as a ‘goth’.
Kelly said: “It might be a coincidence but she did not turn up, or it could be because of the way he dresses - in black with the big boots.
“They didn’t say anything to him, he was just on his phone and one of them just walked up and threw a punch and knocked him down then they all started hitting him.
“This was broad daylight, someone must have seen something, there was between six and eight of them.
“He’s really been shaken up by this, it’s frightened him to death. He is not the sort of person who goes out and causes any trouble.
“When I first saw him the side of his face had ballooned, it was that swollen.
“I went out looking for them, I don’t want them to get away with this.”