A University of North Carolina student who claimed he was branded in a homophobic attack on campus lied about it, police have said.

Freshman Quinn Matney, who is gay, told local media that he was crossing a footbridge near his halls on April 4th when a man grabbed his wrist and branded it with a hot object while shouting anti-gay abuse.

Chancellor Holden Thorp said in a statement: “The Department of Public Safety has determined that the alleged aggravated assault … did not occur.

“That report, filed with campus police on April 5, was false.”

“It is important to recognise that incidents of harassment do occur,” Mr Thorp said in the statement. “When they do, we take them seriously. We strive to foster a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment at Carolina.”

University officials have not commented on why Mr Matney made the assault up. He is likely to face criminal charges for making a false report.