Sophie’s Killers Sentenced to Life in Prison

Sophie Lancaster memorial at WGW. Picture by Tania Taylor.

Two teenagers aged 15 and 16 were sentenced to life in prison yesterday for the murder of Sophie Lancaster, age 20, last summer in Bacup, England. The teenagers, along with three others who received shorter sentences, singled out Lancaster and her boyfriend Robert Maltby for the way they dressed. They initially attacked Maltby, but turned their aggression on Lancaster as she tried to protect him. The gang “punched, stamped and jumped” on Maltby and Lancaster’s heads until both were unconscious. Robert Maltby survived, and Sophie Lancaster died a few days later.

Sophie, Robert, and the two principal attackers

I’ve been following this story ever since it broke, and its tragedy really hits me with the following 5 quotes:

“Shall we batter him?” – One of the attackers, right before the attack began

“I’m not going to get done for reporting this am I? Because all the Bacup lot will hate me because I’ve reported it.” – Girl who called the police to report the incident

“At least wild animals, when they hunt in packs, have a legitimate reason for so doing, to obtain food. You have none and your behaviour on that night degrades humanity itself.” – Judge Anthony Russell QC, passing the sentence

“I really just like to think I’m now only eight-months-old. I’m finding the whole world a terrifying place.” – Robert Maltby, who has no memory of the incident

“Justice can never be done because it will never bring her back.” – Sophie’s mother

8 Responses to “Sophie’s Killers Sentenced to Life in Prison”

  1. Jami Says:

    That’s horrible. I hadn’t heard anything about this story.

  2. Tequila Says:

    I read this on the BBC last night…still gets me pissed off since I don’t think they or others like them really get how horrible an act this was.

    The only bit of justice here is that the two sentenced to life will make pretty lil toys for hardened inmates at some point. The ones with shorter sentences though…hope they get hunted down like rabid dogs when they get out.

  3. Vivacious G Says:

    That’s fucking terrible. The judge’s statement only rings too true.

  4. Mark Says:

    It is beyond hideous. Thanks, Nadia, for giving this kind of story – which sadly isn’t that uncommon in certain areas of the UK (although thankfully the tragic excesses of this attack are a relatively rare occurrence, as the media coverage attests) – an airing on a global platform.

    What’s baffling to me is that when I was a 15-year-old grunge kid growing up in the North of England, attending a bog-standard comprehensive school as one of only five kids out of 1,600 sporting long hair and a torn second-hand army coat, the abuse we’d get for it seemed much more constant but generally far less savage. It was almost as if our minuscule numbers posed no real threat, and so we were merely derided half-heartedly, then left to go on our way.

    What seems to have happened today is that, as the crowds of ‘alternative’ kids have swollen to screamingly ironic proportions, the atmosphere often feels more akin to a dormant gang war. There just isn’t the same steady trickle of casual abuse as there was ten years ago, because at any given time, the emo/goth/alternative contingent frequently outnumbers the would-be oppressors (who frankly tend not to have more than four friends to hang out with at any one time – whereas the alt kids often seem to hang around in huge gangs now, purely because, for the first time, they actually can).

    I’m sure it’s this seething resentment of the shift in power, as it were, that leads to these horrible explosions of violence when a tragic pair such as Sophie and Robert allow themselves to drift off from the herd – as opposed to any specific resentment of goth culture, or genuine ignorance-fueled fear of people wearing ‘weird’ clothes, as perhaps it used to be.

    If there’s any truth to that theory, then I really can’t decide whether things are any better now for alternative youth than they were back when we were so much harder to spot…or if they’re worse than ever, despite appearances to the contrary. You being of similar age to me from what I can gather, I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts.

  5. [?] Says:

    i think your theory is so true. i remember i used to wish there were more alternative kids around, i thought it would create greater tolerance – but as you’ve stated, im not sure if the ever increasing numbers of the like is a good or bad thing.

    but just as the alternative community is growing and developing, it will always be singled out… because people CAN.

  6. Io Says:

    I just saw this on the news when I got to London a few days ago. I cried as they interviewed her mom and described the monsters as having “kicked her head like a football” as she tried to defend her boyfriend. Thank God, there’s some small justice left in this world. May they never be free again.

  7. Marie Says:

    This made me sick. I’m glad those responsible are getting the punishment they deserved. I only wish it didn’t take have to take a girl’s death for everyone to see this is a real problem.

  8. Gleb Says:

    i’m from russia & my girlfriend looks like alternative too … we’re living in a small town & almost all guys at the age of 14-24 the same assholes! it is terrible to live among them, i hate them …