A Maltese man who was left with injuries to his eyes and head after being attacked publicly has opened up about the circumstances that led to his hospitalisation.
“I was attacked for being gay, got set-up and robbed,” Francis* told Lovin Malta.
Having connected with another Maltese man named Karl* on the dating app Grindr, the pair began flirting with each other, with some pictures being sent back and forth as well as sexual comments being made between them.
“He began asking for money for sex, asking for €100 to meet him for oral sex,” Francis recounted, pointing out that at one point Karl even told him he was with another man, making it even more exciting for Francis.
He decided to take the plunge and meet him as he was keen.
“But I found out he’s just setting up gay men on the app and then attacking them when they appear,” Francis said.
Francis and Karl met up – however, the meeting ended violently, and Francis fled and didn’t meet him again.
However, shortly afterwards while in Sliema, he heard his name being called and quickly found himself on the ground being punched and kicked.
Francis filed a police report on 26th March, 2020, at the Sliema Police Station, a few weeks after the incident occurred.
In the police report, shown to Lovin Malta, Francis recounted what happened to him in Sliema.
“I heard my name being called, and I turned around and got punched. I tried to run away but I tripped and all of a sudden I was on the pavement with him over me, punching me and also kicking me. Then he told me you are not going to tell anyone about this – this is referring to him being gay,” Francis told police.
When asked how he knew his attacker was gay, Francis recounted that they had met a week prior in San Ġwann where he had also attacked him.
“I met him the week before, but as he got into my car, he was threatening me not to tell anyone that he was gay and he was punching me in the car. He told me to drive, I stopped him at the next corner and he got out and I drove off,” he said.
In medical documents shown to Lovin Malta, doctors that first attended to Francis had described his injuries as putting him “in danger of loss of life”.
Francis said he wanted to speak out as he believed his attacker, who Francis says has young children, was still active on the gay dating app and setting up other gay men to meet.
“The man who attacked me is still walking the streets, and no one is doing anything. He will continue these homophobic attacks where he asks for money for sex, then attacks the person after they accept – and yet he is still free,” Francis ended.
*Names have been changed for the protection of the man’s identity