23/10/2013 12:29 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 23:58 GMT

Chester Stabbing May Be Gay Hate Crime, Detectives Fear

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A stabbing which left a man seriously ill in hospital may have been the victim of a gay hate crime, Detectives fear.

The 35-year-old man from Chester remains in a serious but stable condition after he was stabbed in the chest on the City Walls, an area popular with the local gay community, on Monday.

Police said they are keeping an open mind about the motive for the attack but are considering the possibility it could be a hate crime.

Detective Inspector Helen Spooner, from Cheshire Police, said: "While it is too early to say for sure that this is a hate crime, we do know that the area where this attack happened is a well-known place that the gay community frequent, so we have to consider this as a possible motive.

"I must stress that I am keeping an open mind and there could be another motive behind the assault, but my priority at this stage is finding the man responsible for this vicious attack and ensuring the public know what has happened so they can be aware of their own safety."

She added: "I am particularly keen to trace a group of people near to Iceland that were close to where the incident happened and may have vital information that could prove key to my investigation."

The suspect is described as a white man, in his early 20s and slim. He was wearing dark clothing. He was seen to run off along the walls after the attack.


Chief Inspector Richard Rees said: "This is clearly a very serious and concerning incident but I want to reassure the community of Chester that this is an isolated attack and we have, and will continue to step up patrols in the area so that anyone that has any concerns or information can speak to an officer.

"I would always encourage people to continue to follow basic safety advice and be aware of your surroundings and always tell someone where you are going and when you are due to be back."

A 57-year-old man arrested in connection with the incident has been eliminated from the investigation.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting incident 994 of October 21, or alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.