As you can see from the photos, Sophie had dreadlocks, piercings, and was labelled in society as a Goth or Mosher. Her boyfriend Rob Maltby aged 21 was also badly beaten, but somehow he survived even though he sustained a bleed on his brain.
Police reports have said that when they first saw the couple after the attack, it was difficult to differentiate who was male and who was female because their faces and heads were so badly swollen from being stamped on-they even had shoe prints indented into their heads they were stamped on so hard.
Sophie and Rob were in a local shop when a lad approached them curious about the way they dressed, asking questions about their piercings etc, this lad decided that Sophie and Rob were actually pretty cool and seemed like nice people so invited them to join him and his friends in the local park- to which they both agreed on.
Everything started off fine, they even had photos taken with some of the group who had requested photos…but not everyone was happy about their presence.
Suddenly, for no reason at all, and totally unprovoked, Rob was punched in the face. He was then beaten to the ground, being kicked and stamped on. Sophie managed to get to Rob to try and help him and was cradling his head, but she was then brutally kicked and stamped on too. They were both left unconscious and bleeding on the ground. No one helped them; they all ran. Apart from the lad they had met in the shop that invited them to the park, he called an ambulance for them, used his coat and tshirt to put under their heads, but didn’t stay to talk to the ambulance crew.
The attackers were eventually caught, as the lad they first met had finally got the bravery to tell the police the truth of what happened. They were given life sentences, but that means they could only serve a minimum of 16years….meaning that in a matter of just 6 years from now they could be released from prison…in 6 years they could be free to roam the streets and live their life, unlike Sophie. A few of the other lads involved have already since been released from prison.
Since Sophie’s death, her mum and loved ones set up the S.O.P.H.I.E Lancaster Foundation which stands for Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere. A foundation that works hard on educating about Hate Crime, to try and stop another tragic death like Sophie’s.
There has been a few TV programs about the attack, there’s Black Roses (which you can find on YouTube in 4 parts if you just search Sophie Lancaster black roses), a recent channel 5 documentary When Kids Kill, and most recently a BBC3 documentary film Murdered For Being Different. They’re all hard hitting, and upsetting. The bbc3 film made me feel physically sick at the thought of what happened to them on that night 10 years ago. It’s truly heartbreaking, but something that needs to be seen to educate people and open their eyes to realise that this hate crime this form of bullying is not by any means acceptable on any level.
This story has always been close to my heart, as someone who has not only grown up with a multitude of ‘alternative’ individuals, but as someone who themself was bullied for ‘being different’.
When I was in senior school, I was labelled as the emo/goth/punk/grunge/freak whatever they decided to call me on the day, all because I listened to a variety of music that they didn’t like or had even heard of (though they didn’t take the time to realise music taste was and still is varied, until one day I shocked a few of the bullies by knowing Eminem lyrics), I had long dark hair with an ’emo fringe’, and would wear thick black eyeliner on non uniform days.
Luckily for me, I didn’t suffer even half as much as Sophie and Rob did, the worst that happened to me was a ‘popular’ lad held a pair of scissors to my wrist and said “shall I save you the trouble emo”. He didn’t leave a mark on me, they were blunt school scissors for a start, but he did dig them in a bit before laughing and going back to his friends. I had people throw my art folder around because I had pictures on the front of it of various bands I liked (stuff like Bullet For My Valentine, Slipknot etc) as well as pictures of various piercings and body modifications like split tongue, corset piercing etc. I was bullied and ridiculed for ‘being different’, even though on a normal school day I looked like everyone else seeing as we had a uniform (which was bright bloody yellow I might add)
Only one teacher done something about it, and that was my year 7 tutor who has become the head of the house I was in (we had a set up a bit like Harry Potter, it used to be names of authors so I was in Richard Adams house, then they changed it to Olympic places or summit my house was changed to Rome). This teacher punished the popular boy by not allowing him to play in an important rugby game, and basically told him if he didn’t leave me alone he’d never be allowed to play for the team again…so he did back off after that luckily, though I did still get the snide remarks from others.
I’ve always embraced my own style, I’ve never followed fashion trends I just wear what I want to wear and what I feel comfy in…some days I could look like a complete ‘chav’, other days I’d look like a love child from Sex Pistols…it would all depend on the day and how I felt, so I never once wanted to change how I dressed etc to be like everyone else (I can thank David Bowie for that attitude).
I have recently ordered a S.O.P.H.I.E wristband online as my one I had years ago got lost, and I’m very very passionate about anti bullying of any kind so I felt the need to buy a new one and wear it with pride, plus the fact the money goes to a great cause. The website ships world wide, and has various other items such as clothing, patches, candles all sorts, and all the money goes to the foundation to allow them to carry on their amazing work. Just type into Facebook or google Sophie Lancaster Foundation. The wrist bands can be worn by anyone of any ‘scene/style’ as they are just black with white writing on if you prefer the more ‘subtle’ look of support.
Please, please go on the site if you can and support them. Also, watch the programs I listed above if possible, especially the BBC3 one. Hopefully it will make people think twice before harassing and bullying someone for the way they look or the music they listen to…they do say never judge a book by its cover after all.
🔷immeamy, you’re you, and that’s the best way to be🔹