A man has been given an 18-week prison sentence after admitting to a homophobic hate crime on a Bristol bus.

Paul Austin pleaded guilty to assaulting 18-year-old Kydis Zellinger as the teenager travelled on the number 76 bus through south Bristol on Monday 15 October.

Austin, 27, also admitted he subjected Mr Zellinger to homophobic abuse during the attack.

Today he was sentenced at a hearing at Bristol Magistrates’ Court.

Mr Zellinger’s victim personal statement described the impact it had on him.

He said: “I can’t understand why any human being could attack another in this way.

“I was scared for my life as he was towering over me in such a threatening manner and in such a rage.

“I don’t understand what I’d done to upset him – the only thing I can think of is he has a problem with my sexuality.

“Since this incident I have been left feeling emotionally drained and vulnerable. I have trouble sleeping as I have nightmares reliving the incident.

“I’m now frightened to go out as I’m frightened of strangers and that I may be attacked.

“I want this male to face up to what he’s done and realise his actions are not acceptable, to hurt people in this way just for being different.

Chief Inspector Nigel Colston, from Bristol South Neighbourhood Team, said: “This was a totally unacceptable display of violence motivated simply by the defendant perceiving the victim to be different.

“I’m pleased the victim was able to see his attacker face justice.

“But we know anyone can be a victim of hate crime. Tackling Hate Crime, in all of its forms, is a priority for us. More people seem to be reporting Hate Crime but we want to reduce the instances of it occurring. It is not acceptable.

“We are working to make Avon and Somerset a place where there is no home for hate.”

If you have been verbally or physically attacked, threatened, or subjected to malicious communication because of your gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, gender identify or because of a disability, please get in touch with us on 101 or report online.

And if you feel you can’t then please speak to a local charity or organisation.

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