A man could be left blind after being the victim of an unprovoked attack in Birmingham’s Gay Village.
Matt Brooks, 52, was punched in the face when he visited a bar after the end of his work shift on Thursday.
He believes the attack, which left him in need of emergency surgery on a fractured eye socket to relieve pressure on his eyeball, was homophobic, Birmingham Live reports.
Mr Brooks, an assistant pub manager from Edgbaston, Birmingham, said he was targeted outside fast-food restaurant Urban Kitchen in the early hours of Thursday.
He fears the perpetrator has struck previously and could do it again if he is not stopped.
He said: “I’d finished work at midnight and went for a couple of pints at Missing Bar.
“Closing time was about 2am and I went over the road to get some chips. I sat against the window of Urban Kitchen when a guy came out of nowhere and just hit me.
“It was completely unprovoked and went straight for me. I have no real memory of it.
“The first thing I remember is being on the floor and there was an off-duty fireman and another man, both passers-by, who were helping me. I can’t thank them enough.”
Mr Brooks, who is gay, added: “It’s in the area and it’s kicking out time. I could have stood out as an easy target. It could have been a hate crime. It’s more than likely.
“He just hit me and did a runner. It wasn’t a fight. It was a proper punch.
“At the moment doctors are trying to keep the pressure down on my eye with tablets and eye drops. He’s fractured the lower part of the socket on the left hand side. If that keeps going that could take the eye sight out.
“They’ve already had to go emergency surgery to stop me going blind because of the pressure in the eyeball. If it had lasted any longer I would have gone blind already, but there is still a chance that will happen.”
His friends reported the attack after he was rushed to the hospital before he returned home to rest, but Mr Brooks said police have not interviewed him yet as of yesterday.
He said: “I tried to phone the police and couldn’t get through. I tried the mychat and robot thing, but I was just waiting.
“I finally got through on Friday morning, but they said an officer had not been assigned to it yet and might take two days.
“I feel let down and disappointed as police have a lot of information here.
“This guy could be out there again today or tomorrow. He needs to be stopped.
“My boss believes he employed him at a different workplace and said he had beaten up a guy with a belt.”
Mr Brooks said he had now been attacked four times in over a year.
Today, West Midlands Police said they have taken a statement from the victim and inquiries are ongoing.
The police force said: “Hostility and prejudice towards people because of their race, sexual orientation, disability, faith, age or gender is a hate crime. And, like all hate crimes, we will investigate and pursue offenders with vigour.”