A British teenager whose story of a violent homophobic attack went viral last month merely fell on his face, police have determined.
Richard Kennedy, an 18-year-old drama student at University of Central Lancashire, said he was leaving a gay nightclub in the early morning last month when he was attacked by a group of men.
On Feb. 26, Kennedy posted a picture of his injuries on Facebook along with a message that eventually generated nearly 160,000 “likes” on Facebook and over 180,000 shares.
“Here is my face after a homophobic attack, 4 of my teeth are gone, not fallen out but deep inside my gums and cheek, one is sitting under my cheek inside my gum on the right side bottom of my nose,” wrote Kennedy.
“All of this and what was their motive? because of my fucking sexuality,” Kennedy said, adding “needless to say it’s absolutely disgraceful to violently attack someone because of who they are.”
“Please like and share to make people even more aware that this sort of thing needs to stop.”
Kennedy circulated the story on various social media accounts and cheered the media attention his case received. He thanked British pop icon Boy George for sending out a supportive tweet and for following him on the social media site.
But after two weeks of investigation police determined that Kennedy was not attacked on the night in question, just clumsy and inebriated.
Footage from closed circuit television showed Kennedy falling face-first into the pavement.
“We managed to recover some CCTV footage which shows the injured party falling face-first onto the pavement,” said lead investigator Paddy O’Neill, The Daily Mail reports. “We have showed him the CCTV and he now accepts his injuries were caused during the fall.”
“Having had oversight of the investigation since its inception and taking into account the full circumstances, I accept his report was made in good faith,” said O’Neill on the decision to not press charges against Kennedy for filing a false report.
“The investigation into this matter is indicative of the lengths we will go to when investigating reports of violent crime in the city,” continued O’Neill, the Lancashire Evening Post reports. “We believe assaults, and hate crime assaults in particular, are under-reported in the city for many reasons.”
Kennedy explained the erroneous report to police in another post on Facebook.
“I haven’t lied to anyone or about anything, my genuinely [sic] belief was due to previous events in the night and the state I was in, I put 2 and 2 together and unfortunately got 5,” wrote Kennedy. “My lack of memory of the night which I made clear from the beginning of the investigation did not support me in any form. There is no evidence to support an attack only to support a fall, it’s in my best interest to work with the people who have supported me throughout not against.”
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