Brandon Forrester, the British 19-year-old who admitted to a brutal attack on a gay man in 2019, will receive a suspended prison sentence for his role in the beating. His victim, Ryan Williams, is expressing his outrage.
The attack itself happened on July 13, 2019 in Manchester’s Gay Village. Williams, then 24, walked home from his job when he was spotted by Forrester. Upon seeing him, Forrester approached Williams and began beating him while shouting “gay is wrong” and “you all need to die.” Williams lost consciousness during the attack and woke up in the hospital sometime later.
Later, in court, Forrester admitted to the attack and showed little remorse. A judge in the case sentenced Forrester to a nine-month stay in a juvenile institution, but then suspended the sentence due to COVID-19.
A furious Williams voiced his disapproval to the UK newspaper The Mirror.
“As soon as the judge said the sentence was suspended I just left, I don’t know how I feel about it,” Williams said. “After court, he started laughing at my mum’s face, he showed no remorse. It was disgusting. It’s been the longest 18 months of my life, I’ve gone through so many emotions. I’ve been put through emotional and physical trauma and after 18 months it feels like nothing has come of it. I’ve never been through anything like this. And he’s just been told not to do it again.”
“I want people to be brave and speak out if things like this have happened to them,” Williams added. “People think homophobia isn’t an issue anymore, but things like this are still happening to people just because of who they are. I didn’t sleep for months, I drank for months, it was horrible. Part of me feels like everything I have been through for the last 18 months is for nothing, but if my story helps someone else then it was worth it.”
In the same interview, Ryan Williams also said that he nearly died from injuries during the attack, and that the incident has left him traumatized. Scarring from the attack also forced him to end his career as an aspiring drag queen.
“I lost so much confidence,” he said. “I used to be so confident and bubbly. But now I really overthink everything I do, and question myself. I don’t really go out and I don’t socialize.”