Ritch Dowrey, victim of 2009 gaybashing attack, dies

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      Richard "Ritch" Dowrey, who was the victim of a gaybashing attack in a Vancouver West End pub in 2009, has died.

      Dowrey, who was 62 years old at the time, was celebrating his retirement on March 13, 2009 at the Fountainhead Pub, a cornerstone of the Davie Village and the West End LGBT community. He was sucker-punched in an unprovoked attack by another patron, Shawn Woodward, who was 35 years old at the time of the attack and is not gay. Dowrey was knocked unconscious when he fell and hit his head on the tiled floor. He went into a coma, which he eventually emerged from.

      On April 5, 2009, hundreds of Vancouverites marched down Davie Street to English Bay to protest violence against LGBT people in the wake of the attack on Dowrey and other gaybashing attacks.

      Provincial Court Judge Jocelyn Palmer ruled the motivation for the attack was "virulent homophobia". She denounced Woodward's claim that he had acted in self-defence against Dowrey's advances.

      Dowrey was left with permanent brain damage, never regained the use of his legs, and had to live in a Langley care facility.

      Woodward was convicted of aggravated assault in 2010 and sentenced to six years but was released on parole in May 2013.

      Dowrey died on January 31. He was a sports enthusiast, and a fan of the B.C. Lions and the Canadian Football League.




      Feb 3, 2015 at 10:02pm

      Years ago, before he was assaulted, I shared quite a few drinks with Ritchie at the Fountainhead watching Canuck games and bullshitting about the Lions and Riders. Ritchie was a goodhearted person who was friendly and kind to everyone he met. My discussions with Ritchie always left me a little happier even if the Canucks didn't. I'll never forget my utter shock when I opened the Province newspaper and saw Ritchie's picture next to the story about the assault at the bar. That was the beginning of a deeply sad journey for Ritchie that has now come to an end.