Two Crawley men have been handed five-year prison sentences for a homophobic attack on Brighton seafront last year.
Gage Vye-Parminter, 18, of Breydon Walk, and Matthew Howes, 19, of Weald Drive, admitted committing grievous bodily harm and assault on the two men in Kings Road at 5am on May 2, police have said.
Both were sentenced to five years and four months in a young offender institution when they appeared at Brighton Crown Court on January 13. They were also ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge.
The court heard that officers in a police car were flagged down by a passing taxi driver who told them two men had just been attacked in Kings Road, on the south pavement opposite the Queens Hotel.
Officers found the two victims aged 22 and 24 and they were taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital to be treated for face and head injuries. The 22-year-old man sustained fractured eye sockets, fractured cheekbones and a fracture to his nose.
Vye-Parminter and Howes were arrested at the scene and taken to custody for questioning. The victims said the pair were walking behind them along the seafront shouting homophobic comments at them. The 22-year-old, who now lives in Camberley, Surrey, said he then remembered being knocked to the floor and attacked before losing consciousness.
Detective Constable Sarah Townsend said: “This was 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.”