A brutal homophobic attack left one Chinese-British gay man unable to walk after his leg was shattered in four different places.
Chris Ver-Haest said his life has been altered since he was violently attacked by 29-year-old Kamil Wladyslaw Snios in London back in July. Ver-Haest, 29, told Buzzfeed that he was forced to cancel plans to move to Spain due to his injury and so he could testify against his attacker in court. Months later, he is still unable to walk and is currently undergoing physiotherapy.
On Thursday, his attacker was sentenced to 10 years in prison after the courts found him guilty of grievous bodily harm.
“Before this happened I didn’t live in fear that I would be attacked for my sexuality….I felt like I didn’t have to define myself through my sexuality,” Ver-Haest was quoted as saying.
“But now I have to think about it…I have to think about how this affects everyone. It’s not just gay people who might be attacked – my friend wasn’t gay and he was attacked.”
Ver-Haest was walking with his friend Alex to nearby shops on Stamford Road in Tottenham to buy cigarettes on July 16 when Snios approached them.
Snios reportedly shouted at them in Polish, then slapped and kicked both of them to the ground. When Ver-Haest tried to crawl away, Snios continued to kick him while alternately slapping his friend.
“He looked wired, in a kind of tunnel vision, like he’d been up drinking all night,” Ver-Haest recalled. Sinos then grabbed their cigarettes and “held them up like a trophy”.
“I didn’t really know what was happening apart from me being on the floor and thinking, ‘I need to get up and get away.’ But when I tried to get up I couldn’t understand why my leg was just buckling.”
Ver-Haest’s friend was only able to call an ambulance after Sinos eventually decided to leave. X-rays would later reveal complete fractures in Ver-Haest’s tibia and fibula bones, extending from his knee right down to his ankle.
Upon questioning, Sinos admitted to the local authorities that he attacked the men simply because he believed they were gay. That one pointless, hateful attack not only broke his leg bones, it is also now threatening to crush his spirit, as Ver-Haest said he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder months after the attack.
“I was having panic attacks — anxiety, hyper-vigilance, flashbacks,” he revealed.
Without a job and a home, having given up the lease on his flat due to his plans to move to Spain, Ver-Haest was forced to seek friends’ help just to have a place to stay. His brother would later take him in, allowing him to stay in a spare room he had previously been renting out.
According to Ver-Haest, he’s is living on the £73 ($98) per week which the government provided from his ESA (employment and support allowance) months after his attack. Before he received his first stipend, his debt had already risen.
“I am altered by this…I’m living this every day. It affects everything I do. I’m 100% reliant on other people.”
To keep himself from sinking further deep into debt and help him support his medical bills, he has set up a GoFundMe page last week with a £5,000 ($6,700) goal. As of this writing, donations have so far exceeded his target, reaching £5,867 ($7,900).
Feature image via GoFundMe/helpchristopherwalk