1. ITV Report

Couple speak out after two men jailed for homophobic attack in Brighton

  • Watch Emma Wilkinson's report

A couple who were beaten up in a homophobic attack in Sussex say they hope their experience sends a strong and enduring message about discrimination.

Dain Finney, from Reading, and his partner James Loxton, from London, were violently assaulted by two men on a night out in Brighton last May.

Gage Vye-Parminter, 18, and Matthew Howes, 19, who are both from Crawley, admitted committing grievous bodily harm and assault have been sentenced to five years and four months in a young offender institution.

Gage Vye-Parminter and Matthew Howes were jailed for more than five years Credit: Sussex Police

Dain and James say they had been enjoying the bank holiday in a nightclub in Brighton when Vye-Parminter and Howes began shouting homophobic comments at them. They left the club but were followed and then attacked as they walked along the seafront.

It being five o'clock at this point, there was hardly anyone around so we were essentially on our own for quite a while whilst they were doing what they were doing to us. Kicking us, shouting at us, pushing us on the floor, that kind of thing. We both blacked out for a period of time. It was very disorientating.

– James Loxton

Officers in a patrolling police car were flagged down by a passing taxi driver who told them he had seen two men being attacked in Kings Road, on the south pavement opposite the Queens Hotel.

Both men were left with cuts and bruises, while Dain suffered several fractures in his face. It took several weeks for him to fully regain his sight and he is receiving ongoing medical treatment for his injuries.

Dain was left with broken eye sockets, broken cheekbones and a broken nose

The couple wrote about what happened to them on Facebook and their story was quickly shared around the world.

After I'd made sense of everything in my head about the incident, I did feel sorry for them. Just because I thought, actually, these guys think it's acceptable to physically harm someone on the basis of their personal identity and that's sad.

I hope that what happened to us reminds people that discrimination of any kind isn't acceptable and we need to be challenging it when it does happen or when we see it. No one should live their lives in fear and I would just urge people to be themselves and walk out the door each day with their heads held high.

– Dain Finney

Sussex Police described the assault on Dain and James as a 'violent and unprovoked homophobic attack on two men who were singled out for their sexual orientation.'

This sentence sends out a clear signal that we will take a robust approach to those who target individuals based on their race, disability, gender identity, religion or sexual orientation.

I hope this case will encourage other victims of hate crime to report such behaviour and violence to the police.

– Detective Constable Sarah Townsend