A MAN who called another man a homophobic name and then spat on him claimed he had done it so he could get arrested and spend the night in a police cell.

Blackburn magistrates heard Ben Mark Young denied the comment had been homophobic.

Young 24, of Preston New Road, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to assault. The case was adjourned for a hearing when evidence will be called to establish the facts.

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said the victim was at the hospital with police officers. He asked the receptionist if he had any facial injuries and she told him he was still beautiful.

"The defendant involved himself and made a homophobic comment before spitting at the aggrieved," said Miss Allan. She said Young was in breach of a conditional discharge imposed for offences of criminal damage to windows which at the time he claimed had been committed deliberately to get himself arrested.

Nick Dearing, defending, said his client's only motivation had been to get a bed for the night.

"He is homeless and with his record it is difficult for him to get stable accommodation," said Mr Dearing. "He accepts calling the victim a name and spitting at him but it was not a homophobic crime. He simply saw an opportunity to get himself arrested. The victim had been taken to hospital in handcuffs, blind drunk, after crashing his car and my client had never met him before. He had no idea if he was homosexual or not."