Kerry puts attack behind her to take part in Leicester Pride parade

Kerry Byrnes, from Oakham, takes part in the Leicester Pride parade. Photo: Martin Brookes EMN-140409-100725001
Kerry Byrnes, from Oakham, takes part in the Leicester Pride parade. Photo: Martin Brookes EMN-140409-100725001
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A woman who was attacked because of her sexuality held her head high in public as she joined thousands of others in a Pride parade.

Kerry Byrnes, 23, from Oakham, suffered a broken cheekbone when she was assaulted by two men in the early hours of August 17.

The attack left supermarket worker Kerry petrified and scared to leave her house.

But after countless messages of support from the Oakham community and from further afield, Kerry decided to join Leicestershie Police’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender network in Leicester on Saturday.

She was part of a colourful crowd who paraded through city streets to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Kerry, who has now gone back to work at Tesco in Oakham, said: “I couldn’t hide away forever but it was a massive decision to go.

“It took me two days to decide. But I just thought to myself that I needed to do it. It’s that first step.

“It was more fear than anything. Then I started to realise that I would have police around me all day. I would be around friendly people and I was going to be safe the whole time.”

There was plenty of media attention and Kerry said she did get frustrated having a TV camera follow her all day. But Kerry was pleased she took part in the parade.

“It was a great day,” she said. “The atmosphere was amazing. Everyone was really happy, there was lots of loud music and bright colours.

“It was great to be out there.”

People have sent messages of support to Kerry in person and on Twitter.

A Leicestershire Police spokesman said: “The day was a great success and I would like to thank everyone involved in making the event run smoothly.

“I am really pleased that Kerry was able to join us and see that despite her attack there is an overwhelming support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Leicestershire and Rutland.

“We would like to appeal for witnesses or information about the attack and we are absolutely committed to bringing the people responsible to justice. Prior to the event, Kerry said the attack had caused her to lose her smile. Thankfully, during the course of the day, she found her smile again which made it all worthwhile.”

Police are still investigating the attack, which happened in Burley Road at about 1.30am on August 17.

Kerry was walking home from a night out when two men approached her. One of them made a homophobic comment before they pushed her to the floor, knocking her unconscious.

Anyone with information on the attack should call 101 quoting crime reference LR/01075/14-9.