9 February 2006 Edition

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Man loses eye in homophobic attack

A 19-year-old teenager was remanded in custody on Thursday 2 February accused of causing grievous bodily harm with intent after a 20-year-old student from Donegal lost an eye in a homophobic attack in Derry on Sunday 29 January.

The Donegal student, who hasn't been named, was punched in the face and knocked to the ground by two men at Clarendon Street in the city centre by two men.

Joseph Padre Krokkee appeared at Derry Magistrates Court accused of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Krokkee was remanded in custody until February 23. The court was told he also faced an arrest warrant on a separate charge.

Condemning the horrific attack gay rights campaigner Seán Morrin encouraged anyone with information to come forward

"The person who carried out this attack made it very clear to the victim that he was being targeted because of his sexuality."

Northlands Sinn Féin Councillor Gerry Mac Lochlainn said there was no justification for the attack and no place for these attacks in society.

"We hoped that we were seeing an end to such behaviour but it's obvious that there are mindless thugs on our streets who will attack people because of their sexuality."

This latest attack comes as official figures due to be published shortly are expected to reveal a further decrease in homophobic incidents in the Foyle area.

Meanwhile Sinn Féin Newtownabbey Councillor Briege Meehan has described the DUP as "childish", after they walked out of a council meeting over a proposal to accept civil partnerships in the borough.

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