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Killed For Being Different

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Ken4155 | 09:53 Mon 17th Jul 2017 | Media & TV
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Just done a search to see if there had been a thread on this but, apparently not. Caught up with it on the BBC iplayer last night. Not as in depth a programme as Little Boy Blue, maybe, but a rather harrowing tale nonetheless. Sophie Lancaster and her boyfriend Robert Maltby were set upon by a gang of thugs in a park in Bacup, Lancs in 2007. The reason? They were 'Goths'!! Both were in a coma with Rob recovering and suffering some memory loss while Sophie never regained consciousness and later died. If you do watch it, be warned, there are obviously some upsetting graphic scenes.

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It seems the tribal instinct is still very strong in some people. Anyone they perceive to be different, whether it be the football club they support, the music they listen to, colour of skin, religion or anything else will be a target - if they appear weaker than the attacker.

I remember this case well - a brutal tragedy.
I watched this and i may have forgotten essential features, but "being different" was only a part of the story, the other half you touch on by your statement "set upon by a gang of thugs"
Thugs are thugs and if you agree to go back with these "thugs" to a party or whatever, then harm may be thrust upon you....dressed as Goths or otherwise.
To me they were in the wrong place, made a poor decision ...and were dressed as Goths.
If I remember correctly they were invited to go to the park by a nice lad who they thought of as a friend. When things started to get ugly he tried told the others the couple were OK but they didn't want to hear. Vile vile people.
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Maybe sqad, but the first thing one of the latecomers said to his mates was, "What you doing hanging out with them moshers?" Had they not been dressed differently, the thugs may still have found an excuse to attack them. We'll never know.
O.K...your recollections are more accurate than mine.
Harrowing but excellent programme .
I haven’t seen this yet, I’m steeling myself to watch it.

When the crime was committed in 2006, I remember feeling enraged and upset that someone could be attacked in this way simply for being ‘different’. I still feel that way, as accepting people’s differences is so fundamental to how we live – it’s vile to think some people see those differences as reason to insult, mock, physically attack and even kill someone. Eyewitness accounts said that Rob and Sophie were initially chatting with the gang and being quite witty and charming, as they were known to be. How could those boys go from that, to stamping on their heads? Such a high level of intolerance of people in their midst looking different, being smart and funny… combined with that ‘tribal’ aspect mentioned above? Plus, possibly other factors: the other main thing I’ve never forgotten is a statement by the chief investigating officer who, apart from saying in his career to date he’d never seen such horrific injuries, made a point of criticising the behaviour of some of the parents of the boys. He could barely control his anger as he described one of the mothers in particular who, when told what her son had done, laughed dismissively. What can you do when there are parents like that?

Sophie Lancaster’s mother Sylvia set up a trust in Sophie’s name, dedicated to visiting schools to get across the message that difference should not be mocked or attacked, but celebrated and accepted. Hopefully even if it’s a small difference they are making, it’s still sufficient to catch some children early enough and sow the seeds of acceptance of ‘difference’. There is a stage play about the killing, Black Roses, which has toured and also been on radio. I saw a London production a few years back, and it too was uncompromising and hard to watch. Afterwards I was fortunate enough to get to chat with Sylvia Lancaster about the trust’s work. You look at this calm, pragmatic, pleasant person and you marvel at how they can suffer the worst possible tragedy like that and turn it into something so positive.
Years ago I met a group of guys on a train preparing to do the Coast to Coast walk to raise money for a charity following this tragedy. I signed up and then sent the sponsor form around the train as people seemed still to be unwilling to be at ease with the guys clothing and piercings. They were such a lovely group.

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Killed For Being Different

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