- The 20-year-old man was approached by four men who questioned him about his sexual orientation
- Then he was attacked by them and nearly killed
- Police are treating the incident as a homophobic hate crime
A young man was walking past Holy Trinity Church on Yarm Lane in Stockton-on-Tees when four men reportedly stopped him and started asking him personal questions about his sexual orientation.
"He ignored them and continued onto Parliament Street," a Cleveland Police spokeswoman reports.
"One of the men then approached him from behind and sprayed an aerosol can at the victim’s legs which he then set alight, causing burns to the victim’s calves."
That’s where the horrific incident took place.
He was taken to hospital where he received treatment to his burns, which were serious and required skin grafts. As for the attackers, police claims that the one, who set the man on fire, was in his early 20s as well, with short blonde hair and wearing jogging bottom pants.
"Officers are treating this as a homophobic hate crime and are asking anyone with information to come forward and call police on 101," the police spokesperson added.