A 26-year-old Oxford man is in hospital after he was stabbed in what police believe was a homophobic attack.

Police confirmed today that two people had been arrested.

The man was walking with his partner along Banbury Road in Summertown at 10:45pm last night (Wednesday).

Police said the couple saw a man lying on the ground in a garden and stopped to ask whether he was all right.

The man then shouted homophobic abuse at the couple and an altercation took place.

He then ran off down Portland Road and returned with a woman. He stabbed the 26-year-old man in the stomach and fled back down Portland Road, police said.

The victim was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital, where he remains in a stable condition.

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Paine said: “I believe that this is an isolated incident, and I would like to reassure the gay community that we are taking the comments made and this matter very seriously.

“We are working closely with the Terrence Higgins Trust and taking advice. Any form of hate crime will not be tolerated in Oxford and we have committed a team of detectives to investigate this matter and will work relentlessly until whoever has done this is brought to justice.

“Two people have now been arrested and we are not looking for anyone else in connection with our enquiries.”

A 21-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent and a 19-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. They are currently in police custody.

Sergeant Felicity Parker, representing the Thames Valley Gay Police Association, said: “We are putting extra police officers in the community to offer our support to the community.

“We will be available and accessible to anyone who might have concerns. The Homophobic Awareness Liaison Team (HALT) in Oxfordshire can also offer support through their website oxhalt.co.uk.”

Anyone with information which could help the investigation should contact Oxford CID via 0845 8 505 505, or if you don’t want to talk to the police or give your name, call the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.