Page last updated at 21:34 GMT, Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Community's vigil over gay attack

James Parkes
Mr Parkes was leaving Superstar Boudoir when he was attacked

A candlelit vigil is to be held by Liverpool's gay community for a trainee police officer who suffered multiple skull fractures in a homophobic attack.

James Parkes, 22, was attacked by up to 20 people outside Superstar Boudoir in Stanley Street on Sunday night.

Hundreds of members of the gay community are set to gather at the scene of the incident on Sunday to show their support for Mr Parkes.

His parents Ann and Ron Parkes said their son "had done nothing wrong".

Mr Parkes is in a serious condition in hospital with skull fractures and other injuries.

Merseyside Police said it was treating the attack as a "homophobic hate crime".

Mr Parkes was attacked as he left the bar with his male partner and two friends at 2200 GMT.

Six boys arrested on suspicion of assault were released on bail earlier.

Mr and Mrs Parkes described the anti-gay attack as "vicious".

We are all horrified about this attack
Marilyn Fielding, Liverpool City Council

The couple added: "We can't believe the ignorance of the young people who carried out the attack on someone who was just out on a night out with friends and had done nothing wrong.

"We are really keen that the young people involved in the attack are caught and brought to justice and would ask anyone who knows anything about the attack to contact the police."

The vigil, being organised by Carl Alderdice, ex-licensee of Escape, a former gay club in the city, is expected to attract hundreds of people when it takes place at 2000 GMT.

Mr Alderdice said: "This has shocked everyone.

"We wanted to do the vigil because a lot of people are angry about what has happened and this is to show support for James and the gay scene."

A march in protest against the attack is also being considered, said Mr Alderdice.

Detectives have been reviewing CCTV footage of the area, which has been sealed-off.

Meanwhile, Liverpool City Council said it was working to improve safety for the gay community in light of the incident.

Councillor Marilyn Fielding added: "We are all horrified about this attack and we are determined to make sure that such events never happen again."

The city's month-long gay arts festival, which begins on Saturday, is expected to attract hundreds of people.



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