Today, 11th August 2014 marks the 7th anniversary of the vicious mob attack on Sophie Lancaster and Robert Maltby that took place in 2007, in the skate park area of Stubbylee Park, Backup.
The goth couple were attacked by a gang of youths aged between 15 to 17 years old simply because of the way they dressed. Police said soon afterwards that it was “a sustained attack during the course of which the pair received serious head injuries and their faces were so swollen they could could not ascertain which one was female and which one was male.”
Both were hospitalised as a result of the attack, Robert gradually recovered but was left with lasting brain damage. Sophie never regained consciousness, and on the 24th August 2007 her family agreed to switch off her life support.
Brenden Harris and Ryan Herbert were sentenced to life imprisonment, three others Daniel Mallett and brothers Joseph and Danny Hulme were jailed for their roles in the attack.
Sophie’s family and friends have set up the Sophie Lancaster Foundation – with the aim to provide an appropriate memorial; a lasting legacy to raise awareness of the injustice perpetrated against Sophie Lancaster and to work towards a more tolerant, less violent society.
S.O.P.H.I.E standing for “Stamp Out Prejudice and Intolerance Everywhere”
In April 2013 the Greater Manchester Police announced that they would officially begin to record offences committed against goths and other alternative groups, as hate crimes, as they do with offences aimed at someone’s race, disability or sexual orientation.