A FATHER-OF-TWO on his way home from Pride claims a woman threw a bottle of wine at his head in an alleged homophobic attack.

Owen Syred, 51, says two women and two children called him “a fat poof” and “fat queer” on his way into Asda in Lancing on Saturday afternoon.

He said one of the children was boasting on a mobile phone “we are going to do him over when he gets outside.”

Staff kept him and the group apart after a confrontation but one of the women hurled the bottle of wine at him while being restrained.

Mr Syred, who works as a guard at a detention centre, has been left shaken and he cannot hear in his left ear.

He said: “I have to restrain violent people every day at a detention centre but I feel safer working there than I did in Asda where this happened.”

The incident started at around 4.15pm at Lancing railway station when Mr Syred was returning home after a day with friends at Brighton Pride.

He said: “I think they just assumed I was gay.

“I heard them behind me as I walked along shouting ‘fatty,’ ‘fat queer’ and ‘fat poof’ but I ignored them because I didn’t think they were talking to me.

“Then I asked them if they were talking to me and they were shouting and swearing.

“She was right in my face.

“I told her she needed to back away but she kept on with the barrage.

“Eventually she got to the point where she was so violent I had to restrain her.

“I put her in an arm lock.

“A shop worker pulled her away. I said sorry to the staff and that I didn’t know what it was all about.”

Mr Syred said the woman then went over to the wine aisle.

He said: “She went to smash me over the head with the bottle.

“She hurled it and it hit me in the back of my head as I turned my face away.”

He has been signed off work until later this month and is due to meet a health specialist to assess the damage caused.

Police are investigating and Mr Syred believes this was a homophobic hate crime.

He said: “I held back and I only stepped in at the point where she was going to cause me harm because of her level of aggression.

“I don’t think they should have been allowed into the store after they were shouting and swearing.

“It was very shocking on my day off.

“You don’t expect that to happen in the supermarket.

“It really shook me up.”

Police say that a group of women were reportedly abusing a man in the store.

They confirmed that a bottle of wine had been thrown, causing injuries to Mr Syred and they said that the women ran off after the incident.

Police say it is being investigated as a violent crime rather than a hate crime.

Mr Syred is due to give a statement to officers tomorrow.

Any witnesses are asked to report information on the Sussex Police website or call 101 and quote crime reference 1113 of 04/08.

Asda was contacted for comment.