A man reportedly kicked a teenager's crutches, insulted him about his disability and threatened him with violence.
Around 10am on Wednesday, April 20, it was reported a teenage boy was approached by an unknown man on Park Lane in the city centre near to the mini roundabout going towards Jamaica Street. The teenager's mum, Sandra Heap, previously spoke to the ECHO about the incident.
Elliott Heap was travelling to his GCSE revision class at Liverpool Life Sciences UTC on Wednesday, April 20, when he was approached by the man around 9.30am. The 15-year-old, from Ainsdale, was diagnosed with ME, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, in February last year - a condition which can affect his balance and leaves him feeling dizzy, meaning he needs crutches to get around.
Police said the man kicked one of Elliott's crutches, directed insulting comments towards him about his disability, and threatened violence towards him. Sandra, 54, told the ECHO: "He was just walking through on his way to UTC and this gentleman suddenly started shouting at him saying 'you don't need those crutches.'
"Elliot carried on walking and the gentleman then chased at him, kicked one of the crutches out of his hand and then flew at him. Elliott said he stepped back and the gentleman was screaming at him. He said 'I'm going to kill you. I'm going to murder you if I see you again.'"
CCTV enquiries are ongoing and today detectives have released an image to help identify a man they wish to speak to about the incident. Detective Inspector Steve O’Neill said: “It is utterly appalling that a someone could be subject to such vile abuse surrounding their disability.
"Merseyside is a friendly, welcoming place and I know the overwhelming majority of people will be shocked and disgusted by this incident. Rest assured, we will not tolerate such appalling hate crime and we are working to find the person responsible and bring him to justice.
“I am appealing to anyone who recognises the man in pictured to come forward as we believe he could hold vital information to help us with our ongoing enquiries. Similarly, if you were in the Jamaica Street area at the time of the incident and saw anything or have any information, please let us know. We understand that a man intervened to help the victim during the incident, if this was you, then please get in touch.
“The area would have been busy with people travelling in and out of town so if you were walking past, or driving in the area and have dashcam footage from the Park Lane area, please review it and let us know if you see anything. You can contact us directly or anonymously via Crimestoppers - however you choose to let us know, we will take action.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police Contact Centre with reference 22000272119. You can also call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form here.
If you wish to report a hate crime, but don’t want to call the police in the first instance, across Merseyside, there are a number of third-party reporting centres available. These include the charity Stop Hate UK who can be contacted on 0800 138 1625.