Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Saturday, 26 April 2008 15:47 UK

Memorial bench for Goth victim

Sophie Lancaster
The plaque on the bench reads "an angel too soon"

Crowds of people have attended a ceremony to celebrate the life of Sophie Lancaster, the 20-year-old who was murdered in a Lancashire park.

A court heard last month how Miss Lancaster and her boyfriend Robert Maltby were attacked in Stubbylee Park, Bacup, because they were Goths.

A bench has been placed on the West Cliff in Whitby, North Yorkshire, after fundraisers collected more than 3,000.

The dedication ceremony took place during Whitby Goth Weekend.

The plaque on the bench reads: "In memory of Sophie Lancaster 26th November 1986 - 24th August 2007 - an angel too soon."

The ceremony was led by Ade Varney, a Goth who is campaigning to include offences against people based on their appearance or subcultural interests in the definition of hate crime.

Mr Varney said: "We decided it only fitting that she had a memorial not only in the place where she and Rob had once enjoyed but also a place where Goths frequent, so they can pay their respects when there."

Memorial to Sophie Lancaster in Whitby
A bench has been placed on the West Cliff in Whitby

Ryan Herbert, 16, and Brendan Harris, 15, have been convicted of her murder and are due to be sentenced on Monday.

Neither of the teenagers knew Miss Lancaster or her 21-year-old boyfriend Robert Maltby, who survived the attack.

During their trial, Preston Crown Court was told their only motive was that the couple looked different to them.

Harris, of Spring Terrace, Bacup, had denied the murder charge. He said he had punched Mr Maltby once after drinking two litres of cider, a bottle of strong lager and some peach schnapps.

Herbert, of Rossendale Crescent, Bacup, who had also been drinking alcohol throughout the night, admitted murdering Miss Lancaster before he was due to go on trial.

Both teenagers pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Maltby.

Three other youths, two aged 17 and one 16, who cannot be named, also pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Maltby.

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12 Mar 08 |  Lancashire
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12 Mar 08 |  Lancashire

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