10:47AM, Friday 03 March 2017
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.
Phillip Poole, of West Road, Maidenhead, was returning home by train from a meal in Reading with his partner Zbynek Zatloukal, when they were attacked in the early hours of Wednesday, February 15.
The incident took place at 1.05am on a Reading to London Paddington service, before the train stopped at Ealing Broadway.
The victims had fallen asleep and missed their stop and were woken to find they were being attacked.
They were punched and kicked repeatedly by a group of men during a prolonged assault despite their attempts to get away from their attackers.
The group of men got off the train at Ealing Broadway and left the station.
Mr Poole has his front teeth knocked out, while Mr Zatloukal suffered head injuries including cuts and bruises and was knocked unconscious. They both needed hospital treatment.
Investigating officer, PC Peter Taylor, said: “This was a very nasty assault committed by a group of men who attacked two other men while they were sleeping on the train. The victims believe the motivation for the attack was that the offenders thought they were gay.
“Hate crime such as this will absolutely not be tolerated by British Transport Police. I would like to speak to anyone who recognises the men shown in the CCTV images as they may have information which could help with the investigation.
“If you recognise them or have any other information about the incident, please contact me by calling 0800 40 50 40 or text information to 61016 quoting reference number 30 15/2/17.”
UPDATE March 4, 11.55am:
One man has come forward to speak to police and one of the images has been removed from the appeal. The appeal is still in place for the other CCTV images.
UPDATE March 17, 4.30pm:
A 16-year-old boy from Hounslow and a 17-year-old boy from Uxbridge have contacted police and been voluntary interviewed and reported for assault. Two of the images have therefore been removed from the appeal but it is still in place for two other CCTV images.
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