Mum of murdered goth girl speaks out against hate crime at Manchester Uni event

Eight years on from her daughter’s brutal murder for being a Goth, Sophie Lancaster’s mum is continuing the fight to get crimes against sub-cultures legally recognised as hate crimes.

Murdered for dressing ‘like a Goth’ Sophie’s mum, Sylvia Lancaster has been relentless in her pursuit for justice and hunt for a substantial change in regards to the dealing of hate crime since her daughter’s death eight years ago.

Young Goths, Sophie Lancaster and Robert Maltby, 21, were confronted by a gang of teenagers in a park on August 11 2007.

The adolescents targeted Robert first and as Sophie went to his aid, pleading for mercy, they violently turned on her. The couple were kicked, stamped on and left unconscious, covered in blood.

A recording was played in court of a 15-year-old telling the emergency services, ‘This mosher’s just been banged because he’s a mosher … his birds on the floor as well’.

Another witness said they ‘looked like dummies’.

When he sentenced the gang, the judge, Anthony Russell QC, said: “This was a hate crime against completely harmless people who were targeted because their appearance was different.

“Sophie Lancaster did not die because of her race, religion or sexuality. She died because she was a Goth.”

Sylvia Lancaster is expected to use the upcoming talk at the University of Manchester on August 20 as an opportunity to reaffirm her disapproval and make an appeal.

Along with family and close friends, Sylvia set up a campaign in her daughter’s name to Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere (S.O.P.H.I.E).

The Sophie Lancaster Foundation Talk will be held at The John Ryland’s Library.

It will present the audience with the chance to hear Sylvia’s thoughts on her beloved daughter’s attack and get insight into what the foundation is doing to banish hate crimes.

Greater Manchester Police began recording attacks on members of subcultures, including Goths and Emos, as hate crimes back in 2013.

They were the first force in the UK to treat the offences in this way.

Previously hate crimes were only registered for offences against race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

Sylvia’s tireless campaigning efforts warranted the appointment of an OBE in 2014 but she said her battle against ignorance will continue.

She said: “I am proud of the work we have done over the last eight years raising awareness of the damage hate crime does to our communities.

“I am aware that there is so much more to do and take this opportunity to call upon other police authorities to follow Greater Manchester Police and the seven other forces in adding the strand of ‘Alternative Subcultures’ to their monitored hate crime categories. 

“My aim is to have all alternatives protected under this legislation.” 

The forthcoming talk, which takes place between 5pm and 7pm, is part of the free Darkness and Light: Exploring the Gothic exhibition currently running at The John Ryland’s Library until December 20, which celebrates diversity and invites visitors to explore what Gothic means to them.

Sylvia added: “This exciting exhibition that explores the gothic culture is so relevant to our work at the Sophie Lancaster Foundation as, like us, it celebrates the creativity of ‘difference’ whilst educating people.

“The fact that there are sessions for children and young people is so positive and I am delighted to be a part of this here in the heart of Manchester.”

Sophie’s story is tragic and it has left her town, Bacup, stunned and divided due to the vicious nature of a young gang refusing to accept Sophie and Robert’s willingness to be different, free spirited and unique.

However, Sylvia has ensured that her daughter’s story has had an impact into the dealings of hate crime and will hopefully assure the youth of today that they do not have to live in fear. 

To book your spot at the talk, click here.

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