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  1. ITV Report

Man left for dead in suspected homophobic street attack

A man was left for dead after a gang of four left him with a fractured skull in a suspected homophobic street attack.

Carl Johnson remains in hospital after suffering a bleed on the brain when he was set upon in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, on Sunday.

Carl Johnson remains in hospital after suffering a bleed on the brain Credit: MEN Syndication

The 25-year-old's family fear the vicious, unprovoked assault was motivated by his sexuality.

Carl's brother Mark has spoken out about his family’s heartache and released a picture of Carl in his hospital bed.

Mark said: "It’s just been devastating for all of us. My mum especially has taken it very hard."

“We just can’t fathom why someone would do something like that to him. “He’s the softest, kindest person you would ever meet. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.

“He actually rang me that night to tell me he loved me.

“When I was on my way to hospital I was thankful we’d had that conversation in case anything went wrong.

“He’s very lucky to be alive. We don’t how long his recovery will take, it could take a month, it could take six months or longer.”

– Carl's brother Mark

Mark says Carl had rung him on Saturday evening saying he wanted to go to the Rochdale Feel Good Festival.

His family believe he went into the town centre to see if he could get tickets, but went to a pub when he couldn’t get hold of any.

Carl's brother Mark has spoken out about his family’s heartache Credit: MEN Syndication

Police believe he was attacked by three men and a woman as he walked home. They knocked Carl to the floor before punching and kicking him as he lay defenceless on the ground.

Carl, who works at a distribution centre, was found badly injured by paramedics at 1.50am and rushed to hospital.

He's since been moved to a specialist brain injury unit at Salford Royal Hospital, where he remains seriously ill, slipping in and out of consciousness.

Carl suffered a fractured skull and a bleed on the brain, as well as a broken jaw, hand and ribs.

He has briefly spoken to police, but his memory of the brutal assault is hazy.

The attackers are said to have fled from Drake Street in the direction of Manchester Road.

Carl’s family suspect it may have been a homophobic hate crime, while Greater Manchester Police say they are still investigating the attack and its motive.

Det Cons Craig Wallace, of GMP’s Rochdale borough, said:

“This was a completely unprovoked attack on an innocent man who has been left with serious injuries.

“Our thoughts are with the victim and his family at this time as he remains in hospital receiving treatment.

“We have launched an investigation and I would ask that anybody who thinks they may know something that can assist with our investigation to please contact police.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, quoting incident number 272 of August 13 - or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.