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‘He’s a faggot. He deserved it’

Witness alleges accused told him after Fountainhead assault

 “He’s a faggot. He deserved it,” Lindsay Wincherauk alleges the man accused of punching 62-year-old Richie Dowrey in the face at The Fountainhead Pub Mar 13 told him after the alleged assault.

“I’m not a fag. The faggot touched me. He deserved it,” the accused allegedly repeated to Wincherauk and several others who pursued him down Davie St, as one of Dowrey’s friends held his head in the pub.

The assault has left Dowrey, 62, clinging to life in St Paul’s Hospital, after the punch knocked him backwards to the ground where he hit his head.

“He fell like a board to the ground. So hard that a hollow thud could be heard throughout the bar,” Wincherauk told a press conference Mar 17.

Dowrey is believed to have “massive brain injuries.”

“There’s a chance if he survives he won’t walk again,” Wincherauk says. “The bottom line is, he’s not coming back.”

Shawn Woodward, 35, has been charged with aggravated assault in connection with the incident. He will appear in court Mar 20.

Wincherauk says several people contained the man who assaulted Dowrey until police arrived. The man then allegedly repeated to police that “the fag deserved it,” Wincherauk claims.

Vancouver Police Department (VPD) Staff Sgt Don Cayer could neither confirm not deny what the suspect may have said to arresting officers.

The VPD hate crimes unit is now handling the investigation, Cayer says.

He says Woodward is cooperating with investigators.

With gaybashings apparently on the rise in the gay village, Vancouver-Burrard MLA Spencer Herbert says it’s time for the community to say enough is enough.

“It’s horrific the number of stories we hear,” he says.

“It happens all the time in our community and it has to stop,” agrees Ron Stipp of West Enders Against Violence Everywhere (WEAVE).

“This is not an isolated incident here.”

Stipp is calling for a greater police presence in the village.

He too points to a string of recent gaybashings, including last September’s attack on Jordan Smith that broke the man’s jaw.

“This has got to stop,” Stipp reiterates. “We want our community to feel safe.”

“If it is a hate crime, it’s a pretty sad commentary that we’re not safe in our own bars,” adds WEAVE’s Jack Herman.

WEAVE is planning a community forum on safety for May 2.?

Police are investigating several other potential gaybashings in the West End.

Police issued a public warning after an assault on a 52-year-old man near Stanley Park’s cruising trails in February.

Police say the park victim was walking through the park just after midnight on Feb 2 when he was approached by another man who allegedly assaulted him without provocation.

The attacker left the victim lying on the ground. Two weeks later, hate crime investigators said they believe threats made against two men at a Davie St convenience store may have been motivated by hate.

Police say the men were coming out of a convenience store at Davie and Bidwell when a man threatened them with a knife while uttering anti-gay slurs.

Cayer says the man said something like, ‘I hate fags’ while brandishing a weapon that resembled a Swiss Army knife.

No one was injured in that incident.