28 April 2008

Thuggery

Sophie Lancaster and Robert Maltby were friends and lovers. One evening last summer these twenty year olds walked through Stubbylee Park in Bacup, Lancashire with their whole lives in front of them. They were attired as "Goths" and this was apparently enough reason for a gang of teenage nobodies to set about them. Robert was kicked and punched to the ground and when Sophie screamed for the mob to cease their mindless assault, they turned on her and as good as killed her with their cruel thuggery before running away.
Hospital staff later tried desperately to save her but the damage had been done. Two of the "boys" were sent down for many years today - accused specifically of Sophie's murder while a further three were imprisoned for the initial vicious assault on Robert. The judge hesitated to liken them to animals because when packs of animals attack and kill they have a survival purpose but what happened in that park was without reason. If there was a God, I would say God Bless to Sophie - may you rest in peace and as Robert tries to rebuild his life in a world he now fears, all I can say is that my heart goes out to you. I was going to display the faces of the thugs below with their empty eyes - none of them more than seventeen - but when I saw them in the intended post I felt unnerved. What made them like this? And how many others are lurking in the dark shadows of our parks, our streets and our nightmares? Instead here's a picture of Sophie, alive, drinking a glass of red wine, searching for herself through the medium of the Goth subculture which enthralled her. Her twenty three year old brother said "Although the sentences seem fitting and appropriate, no sentence is long enough to compensate for the loss of Sophie."

6 comments:

  1. A really terrible deed. You do indeed wonder whatever happened to cause them to be so inhuman. I think that many of the youngsters that cause trouble these days behave like that because of a lack of discipline in their lives. They know their rights but not their responsibilities, they fear no-one and respect no-one because they know that society today them to get away with almost anything. Obviously these thugs thought that included murder.

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  2. I know exactly what you mean about those empty eyes.

    I know Sophie's mother worked to try and help kids like the ones who killed her daughter. Her whole family seem to be wonderful people.

    As for those who attacked Sophie and Robert - I don't have the words.

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  3. Deirdre10:28 am

    So very very awful.....I keep thinking about the guilty and the victims as young nursery children...running around happily and innocently with no notion that such horror lay in their future....

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  4. Thank you ladies - DEIRDRE - that idea of the innocence of the playgroup scene is striking. At that age who could foresee the horrors and the differences that would emerge in later life? Who can ever see that?

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  5. My daughter used to be a Goth and still has Goth tendencies - and her Goth friends are pleasant, polite and all worked hard and did well at school, as did my daughter. It was a terrible crime.

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  6. Appalling. Though solidly against the death penalty, it's only because there is usually an element of doubt, and executing an innocent person is the worst of all possibilities.

    However, unhindered, as I am, by training or experience, I'm convinced prison usually does more harm than good. I have no idea what the best course of action is.

    Fortunately I can wring my hands and leave it to others to make the decisions, then blame them for not fixing the problem.

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