Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner has praised the bravery of a volunteer who was attacked while helping vulnerable people in Manchester’s Gay Village.
Lee Macintosh was working as a Village Angel – a scheme run by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation and supported by Tony Lloyd, which offers help to vulnerable people on Friday and Saturday nights – when he was attacked by Jaroslaw Psiuk, 27, of Ansdell Street, Cheetham Hill, last November.
Psuik brushed past Lee as he staggered down Canal Street. Lee asked him if he was ok and offered to help him but Psuik responded by swearing and challenging him to a fight. When Lee and two fellow volunteers tried to move him on, Psuik punched Lee in the face while shouting homophobic abuse.
Condemning the attack, Tony Lloyd said: “This was an assault and a hate crime. Lee was just trying to help this man and it’s sickening that his response was not of thanks, but of violence. Behaviour like this cannot be tolerated and I commend Lee for coming forward and reporting it so that Psuik could be brought to book and face his crimes.
“The Village Angels give up their own time every weekend to help vulnerable people and make sure everybody has a safe night out. It’s an invaluable scheme and the Angels do an important job and that’s why it’s so abhorrent that one of them has been attacked in this way.
“Hate crime is vicious and unacceptable and we need to stand together against it. If you’ve been a victim of hate crime, please don’t suffer in silence. Come forward and report it so you can get the support you need and the offender brought to justice.”
Lee Macintosh, who is also the Village Angels Coordinator at the LGF, said: “I’ve always thought Greater Manchester Police to be approachable which is why I had the courage to come forward and report this attack. I wanted to make an example of Psuik and send a message to the LGBT community that if they are a victim of hate crime, don’t be afraid to report it. There is help available and the perpetrators can be brought to justice.”
Psuik received a 12 month community order, a six month supervision order and was ordered to do 40 hours unpaid work.
Tony Lloyd provides funding to the Village Angels scheme. The team of volunteers, recognisable by their pink tabards, who give up their time every Friday and Saturday night to provide advice and support to people using Manchester’s famous Canal Street and help those in need.
To report a hate crime contact the police on 101 or dial 999 where there’s a threat to life or a crime in progress. You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or you can report it online at www.report-it.org.uk/home
You can also report hate crime at a third party reporting centre. These are independent, non-police centres that allow you to report incidents in complete confidence. If you’d rather not talk to anyone you can use a ‘self-reporting’ pack. Find a third party reporting centre in your area at www.gmpcc.org.uk/hatecrime.