When Josie Gibson gathered her family and friends to celebrate her birthday, she never expected to be comforting her bloodied and battered brother at the end of the night, after a vicious and unprovoked attack.
After going for a family meal to celebrate turning 29, Josie, her 27-year-old brother Harry and a group of 10 friends carried the party on to a nightclub in Bristol.
Shockingly however, after Harry got separated from the group for a matter of minutes, he was approached by a threatening group of three men, one of whom brutally and repeatedly punched him.
Josie found her brother collapsed on the club stairwell, blood pouring from him face. And the cruel reason behind the vile attack? Because Harry is deaf.
Josie explains: “The night was going brilliantly. I was out for my birthday, my mum and my sisters were there too, then me, Harry and a few others left them and went on to a nightclub.
“We were all dancing on the dance floor, then I went to the toilet and then to get a drink.”
She continues: “There was a wall separating me at the bar from where Harry was. I was talking to this lovely guy and he said, ‘Some blokes over there are being horrible to your brother, they’re calling him deaf and dumb’.
“I ran around the corner and I found Harry draped over the steps with blood everywhere.
“There was so much blood and his head was on the stairs. He could have whacked his head as he landed – they could have killed him.”
Harry, a builder from Wilmslow, Cheshire, has been deaf since he contracted meningitis aged 18 months. He can speak with the use of a hearing aid, but relies heavily on lip reading and sign language.
Harry believes the man who attacked him had asked him for directions but, as it was dark, he was unable to lip read.
“I’m the older sister so I’m protective,” says the former Big Brotherstar, who is fluent in sign language and a keen fundraiser for the charity Meningitis UK.
“That’s why, when I saw him like that I felt I had really let him down. I do feel very guilty and so, so angry.”
Harry is having an operation to fix his nose this month, and Avon and Somerset Police are still trying to find the culprits.
They have released a CCTV image of a suspect and are treating the case as a ‘discrimination’ attack.
Read the full interview in issue 06 of Reveal magazine
EXCLUSIVE hi-res images can be found on our website www.scopefeatures.com