Zbynek Zatloukal and Phillip Poole after the attack
An ice skating coach and personal trainer who lost two teeth in a homophobic attack on his way home from a Valentine’s Day meal has said he can’t understand what provoked the assault.
Phillip Poole, of West Road, Maidenhead, was returning home by train from a meal in Reading with his partner Zbynek Zatloukal, when they were set upon in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The pair had just missed their stop when the gang of about five men boarded the service to London Paddington at about midnight.
“I had my head on Zbynek’s shoulder and they said something homophobic to Zbynek like 'what are you doing that for?',” said Mr Poole.
“I think Zbynek said can you just leave us alone please and then he got a smack in the face.
“I didn’t really know much about this because I was asleep and then they started smacking me in the face too and Zbynek had gone a bit unconscious.”
The first few blows knocked two teeth out of Mr Poole’s mouth, including a £3,000 implant he had put in last year, and which he was able to pick up before ‘staggering’ further down the carriage.
But he later lost them when his attackers followed him and started hitting him again.
“Then he [Mr Zatloukal] came along and tried to fend them off but got the brunt of it and ended up on the floor.”
The assault only ended when the train pulled into Ealing Broadway and the gang escaped.
Mr Poole says it has left him with sleeping problems and flashbacks and that it will ‘take a lot to get on [a train] again’.
He added: “Teeth can be repaired and bruising will go down, but that’s not just it, it’s the mental thing too.”
A spokeswoman for British Transport Police said: "We are aware and investigating an incident at Ealing Broadway in which two men were assaulted.
"The incident happened on Wednesday, February 15 on a Great Western Railway train at Ealing Broadway.
"The call came into police at 1.04am.
"The two men were taken to hospital by ambulance after they suffered cuts and bruising.
"Anyone with any information about the incident should contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 or 61016 citing reference 30 of 15/02/16."
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CCTV images have been released of men police would like to speak to in connection with a homophobic attack on a couple as they took a train home from a Valentine's Day meal.