Richard Kennedy, 18, from Blackpool, told police he was set upon by a gang of homophobes when he left a gay nightclub in Preston, Lancashire, prompting officers to appeal for information about what they called a ‘particularly nasty assault’.
He posted photographs on Facebook of his battered and bleeding face, dislodged teeth, and gaping knee wound, with the caption ‘An example [of] why homophobia is wrong and it’s disgusting that it’s still around in 2014’. The post was shared by more than 182,000 well-wishers.
But today the teenager, who studies Contemporary Theatre and Performance at the University of Central Lancashire, admitted he made it all up.
After being shown CCTV of him tripping and falling, face-first, onto the pavement, Kennedy accepted that the ‘utterly inhumane homophobic attack’ he had talked about actually never happened.
This afternoon Lancashire Police, who carried out a ‘detailed and thorough investigation’ into the alleged attack two weeks ago, confirmed CCTV showed the teenager had not been attacked by anyone, and had simply hurt himself when he fell over.
But police said Kennedy will not face any action for wasting police time as they were convinced he actually believed he had been assaulted when he spoke to police.
Detective Inspector Paddy O’Neill said: ‘We managed to recover some CCTV footage which shows the injured party falling face-first onto the pavement. We have showed him the CCTV and he now accepts his injuries were caused during the fall.
‘Having had oversight of the investigation… I accept his report was made in good faith.‘
He added: ‘I am conscious that the initial reports into this incident will have been very upsetting for a number of people, and Preston city centre was portrayed in a very negative light.
‘Thankfully, there was no homophobic assault or any other assault on this occasion.’
After the alleged ‘attack’ outside the Evoque nightclub shortly after 3.30am on 26 February, Kennedy told how he was knocked to the ground and stamped on with such ferocity, four of his teeth were dislodged.