Page last updated at 19:42 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

Goth death mother's new law call

Sophie Lancaster
Sophie Lancaster died while protecting her boyfriend

The mother of a young woman kicked to death because she was a Goth wants a change in the law to make sure such attacks are classified hate crimes.

Sophie Lancaster, 20, was kicked to death by a gang in a park in Bacup, Lancashire, in August 2007.

Her mother Sylvia Lancaster is calling for legislation that would mean tougher sentences for attacks based on someone's appearance.

She was speaking after a meeting with shadow schools minister Michael Gove.

Mrs Lancaster, who set up the Sophie Lancaster Foundation last year, wants the law changed so that tougher sentences are given out for attacks on someone because of their appearance.

People don't realise how big the alternative culture is
Sylvia Lancaster

She said: "Politicians are at a distance and they need to be talking to ordinary people who can talk about their experiences.

"People don't realise how big the alternative culture is. You've got the mainstream and then, just underneath, you've got this massive alternative community."

Miss Lancaster and her boyfriend were walking through the park when they were attacked by what a judge described as a gang of "feral thugs".

Brendan Harris, 16, and Ryan Herbert, 16, were convicted of murder and jailed for life at Preston Crown Court in April 2008.

Mrs Lancaster, from Rawtenstall, Lancashire, wants a change in the law to mean attacks on someone because of their "alternative" appearance, such as Goths, will be designated a hate crime and attract tougher sentences.

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