Thug Kristopher Gibson has been jailed for a brutal homophobic attack on a gay woman that left her with injuries so severe she may need cosmetic intervention.
Gibson, 33, was heard shouting “what a right hook I’ve got” after punching the woman in the face outside a Belfast bar on 17 March last year.
A witness at the scene said he “became aggressive and made derogatory comments about homosexuals” when he heard that the woman had a wife. Without warning he punched her, instantly knocking her unconscious.
Sentencing Gibson to eight months in prison, judge Patricia Smyth said he assaulted the woman “for one reason and one reason only, and that was her sexuality“.
“She became aware of a male, you, to her left who was ‘mouthing’ about ‘gays’. You approached close to her and were very aggressive in your manner,” the judge said.
“You pushed your mobile phone into her face, she moved her hand across her face and moved back. She cannot remember anything else thereafter.”
As the woman lay unconscious on the ground Gibson also assaulted her male friend who tried to help her. The injured woman’s wife heard Gibson shout “‘f**king gays” and other homophobic slurs.
The victim was rushed to hospital where she was treated for a laceration to the back of her head and soft tissue injuries to her left cheek.
When she regained consciousness she was suffering “agonising pain” to her face and head. She still experiences tingling and numbness to her cheek which may require cosmetic intervention.
After attempting to goad others to the scene, Kristopher Gibson fled to the kitchen of a nearby house where was was apprehended by police a short time later.
The court heard that he struggled with officers as he was arrested and initially denied attacking the woman, instead claiming he had been mistakenly identified.
He was charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm on the woman, assaulting the man who came to her aid, and assaulting police.
The father of two was handed a 16-month sentence for the homophobic hate crime, of which he will serve eight months in prison followed by eight months on licence.
As she sentenced him Judge Smyth said that “there is no question that the emotional and psychological impact of this attack has been significant”.
She continued: “The law recognises the vulnerability of persons from the LGBT community and the importance of imposing sentences which deter others from committing such appalling offences, and the courts will protect victims from hate crime.”
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