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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 December 2005, 15:29 GMT
Friends shaken by barman's killing
David Morley speaking to BBC London after the Soho bomb
David Morley had survived the 1999 Soho nail bomb attack
The death of David Morley at the hands of a gang of young thugs provoked an outpouring of grief among the Soho community where he had made his life.

A thousand shocked mourners packed St Anne's church in Soho and spilled into the streets for a candlelit vigil in the aftermath of his death to pay tribute to the 37-year-old barman.

On a website set up in tribute to Mr Morley - known as "Sinders"- friends remembered him as a man who led a beautiful and vibrant life, who touched people around the world.

One, Jo, wrote: "You were always life and soul of any party and you had the ability to brighten the room up with your cheer."

Admiral Duncan 'lynchpin'

Mr Morley was a survivor of the horrific attack on the Admiral Duncan pub in Old Compton Street at the heart of Soho, where he had been working when David Copeland let off his nail bomb April 1999.

The blast killed three people and injured 73 more, shaking the area's gay community to its core.

Mr Morley escaped with minor burns and went on to play a key role in the restoration of the pub, which reopened exactly nine weeks after the bombing.

But five-and-a-half years after the nail bombing, the community was once again left horrified when Mr Morley was viciously beaten to death on London's South Bank.

Flowers and candles in front of David Morley's photograph
A member of the public places a candle in memory of David Morley

He had met a friend, Alastair Whiteside, at the city's Hungerford Bridge on 29 October 2004.

The pair had spent several hours sitting on a bench, eating and drinking cider, when a gang of youths approached.

The ensuing attack left him with multiple injuries including a ruptured spleen and broken ribs as well as 40 distinct bruises. He died in the early hours of 30 October.

While it was initially feared Mr Morley had been the victim of another homophobic crime, it eventually turned out the attack had been random - carried out by a cheering gang seeking violence for violence's sake.

Speaking at the memorial, his friend Sally Graham echoed the thoughts of many when she said it was the second time Mr Morley had been in the "wrong place at the wrong time".

He made everyone feel welcome and loved wherever he went
Marty and Zalka
San Francisco
She added: "But for all of us here today he will be in the right place at the right time, which is a very special place in all of our hearts."

One of Mr Morley's friends set up a website,, to allow people to share their memories of him.

Patrick McAfee, from West Sussex, wrote that he had worked with "Sinders" at the Castle and the Queens Arms in Lewisham, South London.

'So gracious'

He said they had fundraised together for the HIV and AIDS charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) in the 1990s.

"He was so well liked that if there was a party going he would be top of the list in south-east London and beyond," he wrote.

Another friend, Jo, described living in the Midlands at the same time as Mr Morley.

"I remember the time when we would all cram in someone's living room to watch an episode of Fame, when we all crammed into someone's Escort or Cortina to go for a walk down Fishley Lane, Karaoke nights on New Years Eve, drinking down the Green Dragon, camping at Furnace, water fights at Cloverly Hall and Quinta," she wrote.

You could feel lower than low and walk into a place where Sinders was... and you knew within minutes if not seconds you would be smiling and laughing along with him...

Another posting came from Marty and Zalka, in San Francisco. They wrote that Mr Morley had often visited a "sister" pub, the Cinch Saloon, in the US city, and had shown them around London when they crossed the Atlantic.

"He was so gracious and kind to his "lesbian sisters from San Francisco" (as he would call us). We became fast friends and visited him each year for the past four years," they wrote.

Nick Wild wrote: "Sinders I owe you my life, because on several occasions I was going to take mine and you, being you, stopped me."

Mandy, from Lewisham, wrote: "You could feel lower than low and walk into a place where Sinders was and see his beautiful smile and his fantastic outlook and love for life and you knew within minutes if not seconds you would be smiling and laughing along with him... "

Four guilty of barman's killing
14 Dec 05 |  London

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