Couple assaulted, one killed in 'goth clothing' prompted attack

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

A case is currently being tried in England over the alleged assault of a 'Goth' couple, resulting in the death of the female victim. A fifteen-year-old youth, who was one of a gang of five, is charged with having kicked and stamped the 20-year-old woman to death in Stubby Lee Park, Bacup, Rossendale in Lancashire on the 11 August 2007.

The couple; Robert Maltby, an art student, 21 and Sophie Lancaster, 20; became engaged in an initially civil conversation with the drunken gang while walking in the park.

The attack began with a kick to the head of the male victim by the accused 15-year-old. the gang then continued to kick and stamp on Robert Maltby while laughing and encouraging each other. As Miss Lancaster begged the gang to stop beating her boyfriend they turned on her.

The jury were played a recording of a 999 call made shortly after the attack by an eye witness. In the recording, a girl is heard sobbing and crying who details the attack and pleads: "We need, we need an ambulance at Bacup Park, this mosher's just been banged because he's a mosher." referring to the attack on Robert Maltby.

This motive was referred to by Michael Shorrock QC during the prosecution: "It would appear that [they] were singled out, not for anything they had said or done, but because they dressed differently to the defendant and his friend".

Miss Lancaster sustained such extensive injuries that on the arrival of the paramedics they were unable to determine her gender. The couple were taken to hospital where both victims fell in to comas. Robert Maltby regained consciousness and survived his injuries but Sophie Lancaster died two weeks later.

The youth denies the charge but admits to causing grievous bodily harm with intent. Three other youths, two aged seventeen and one sixteen have been remanded in custody by Judge Anthony Russell QC after admitting to playing a part in the attack. They will face sentencing after the trial of the fifteen-year-old.