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Man beaten unconscious by gang, then gay-bashed by Good Samaritan who walked him home

Man beaten unconscious by gang, then gay-bashed by Good Samaritan who walked him home

Dylan Souster was assaulted twice on Saturday night in Sydney

An Irish man now living in Australia was assaulted by the man who helped him home after he recovered consciousness from an earlier beating.

Dylan Souster, aged 22, and his boyfriend, Darren Hedderman, 27, relocated to Sydney from Ireland around three years ago. They had guests over for dinner to their apartment in the Waterloo district on Saturday night.

Shortly after midnight, Souster left the apartment to check that his guests had been able to get a taxi OK and weren’t outside waiting on the street.

Hedderman told the Sydney Morning Herald that he went to bed expecting Souster to soon return. He was awoken around 90 minutes later by screams from his boyfriend.

Partners Darren Hedderman and Dylan Souster, photographed last year
Partners Darren Hedderman and Dylan Souster, photographed last year

‘He walked up McEvoy Street a little bit and couldn’t see them [their guests], so he turned around,’ said Hedderman.

‘As he turned around, somebody hit him, and the next thing he remembers is waking up in Waterloo Oval being kicked in the head.

‘He doesn’t know how he got to the oval. We don’t know whether he was dragged there or whether he ran, he doesn’t remember.’

Souster regained consciousness and began to make his way home. He asked a man on the street for help.

‘The guy said “Yeah, no problem, are you OK? What happened?”,’ said Hedderman.

The man walked Souster home, but when they approached the apartment, he asked Souster if he wanted him to call his girlfriend to come and help him. It was at this point that Souster told him that he had a boyfriend.

‘And he said “Oh you have a boyfriend, you’re a queer”, and he hit him in the face,’ said Hedderman.

Mr Souster suffered extensive facial bruising, including burst lips, swollen jaw, two black eyes and cuts to his forehead.

Souster told Gay Star News, ‘The first attack was a complete blur. I was literally across the road from my apartment when I went to turn around and walk home, after realizing that my friends had left and got into a taxi or walked.

‘I just remember being hit in the face by a male. After this I don’t know if I ran towards the oval in shock to get away or whether he forced me there but I remember waking up in the oval being kicked and punched all over my body by a group of males.

‘I don’t know if it was because I am gay but to look at me you’d know I am gay and especially with a few drinks in me.

‘The guy that tried to help me seemed genuine as he walked me within 50meters of my apartment. It was only when he asked what had happened and I mentioned that me and my boyfriend that he freaked out and said, “You’re one of those fags, ya fucking queer cunt”.

‘Then he turned on me and hit me into the face, full force. I then ran home thinking he was following but he had turned away and ran, according to CCTV.’

Souster told us that he had previously experienced homophobic abuse in Sydney but nothing physical.

‘I’m terrified to leave my apartment now. I’ve been having nightmares of feet coming towards my face and waking me up.

‘I honestly thought I was going to die in that oval. I’ve never been so scared in my life. Hopefully the people that done this will be caught so that it can’t happen to anyone else.’

Police are investigating both Mr Souster’s attack, and a separate attack on two males that occurred at around 4.45am on Sunday morning in Surry Hills, Sydney, which they believe may also have been a gay hate crime.

Police believe the attacks were carried out by different individuals, and are concerned not only that two separate attacks took place over the weekend, but that they come just days before the annual Sydney Mardi Gras festival, when thousands of LGBTI people are expected to descend on the city.

‘The occurrence of two bias-related assaults over one weekend is not common, and of concern to police,’ said Superintendent Crandell to the News.com.au.

‘With the Mardi Gras season upon us, and with larger numbers of people visiting Sydney’s inner suburbs, help police to keep you safe by being aware of your surroundings at all times and calling triple zero if you feel under threat.’