A student from Blackpool who claimed he was savagely beaten in an alleged homophobic attack has admitted causing the injuries himself. Richard Kennedy became an internet sensation after 182,000 people shared photos of his injuries that he had posted on Facebook.
The incident is the latest in a string of fake hate crimes that are reported and gain traction through the internet.
On March 3rd this year, a transgender student at a California middle school admitted that a sexually assault and beating attack never actually happened. In February, a radio station admitted pushing a homophobic hoax, while in April of last year, a lesbian basketball star was jailed for attempting to dupe police into believing her story about a gay hate attack on herself. At the time, prosecutors said she faked the attack because she thought it would inspire change in the treatment of gay people.
A caption on Kennedy’s images read: “An example [of] why homophobia is wrong and it’s disgusting that it’s still around in 2014”.
Kennedy posted graphic images of his injuries, including his face bloodied and bruised, teeth missing from his mouth and his knees badly wounded.
MailOnline reports that he told police that he had been set upon by a gang of homophobes when he left a gay club in Preston, prompting officers to launch an investigation and appeal for information on the perpetrators.
In his Facebook post, Kennedy spoke of being kicked to the ground and told of how “stupid” he was to walk home on his own. He wrote: “Here is my face after a homophobic attack: four of my teeth are gone, not fallen out but deep inside my gums and cheek… my face is swollen, both my knees are badly injured and I struggle to walk.
“My whole face is constantly throbbing and I’m now on four tablets a day for pain and infection and may require surgery to sort out the damage.
He even told a local newspaper that he heard a group of men shouting homophobic abuse at him.
But now he admits he made it all up. After being shown CCTV footage of himself falling over onto the pavement, Kennedy accepted the attack never happened. Lancashire Police have also confirmed that CCTV footage showed Kennedy had never been attacked.
However, Detective Inspector Paddy O’Neill said that Kennedy won’t be prosecuted for wasting police time: “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.”