Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Friday, 13 June 2008 12:57 UK

Appeal over Goth murder sentence

Sophie Lancaster and Robert Maltby
Miss Lancaster was attacked as she cradled her boyfriend

Two teenage boys jailed for life for the murder of a woman who was killed for dressing as a Goth have lodged an appeal against their sentences.

Sophie Lancaster, 20, was kicked and stamped to death by Brendan Harris, 15, and Ryan Herbert, 16, in Stubbylee Park in Bacup, Lancashire, last summer.

The pair turned on her as she tried to get them and three other youths to stop attacking her boyfriend, Robert Maltby.

Harris was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years and Herbert to 16 years.

Harris had denied murder, but was convicted in March, while Herbert pleaded guilty before the trial started.

The three youths who pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent on Mr Maltby have also appealed against their sentences.


Harris was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years and Herbert to 16 years

Brothers Joseph, 17, and Danny Hulme, 16, both of Landgate, Whitworth, near Bacup were sentenced to five years and 10 months each, while Daniel Mallett, 17, of Rockcliffe Drive, Bacup, was sentenced to four years and four months.

The cases will now go before a High Court judge to decide if there is a basis for the appeal.

On passing sentence at Preston Crown Court in April, Judge Anthony Russell QC described the attack last August as "feral thuggery" which raised serious questions about the "sort of society which exists in this country".

He told the youths: "This was a terrible case which has shocked and outraged all who have heard about it.

(left to right) Joseph Hulme, Danny Hulme and Daniel Mallett
Three other teenagers were jailed for the attack on Mr Maltby

"At least wild animals, when they hunt in packs, have a legitimate reason for so doing, to obtain food.

"You have none and your behaviour on that night degrades humanity itself."

He described the Goth community as "perfectly peaceful law-abiding people who pose no threat to anybody" and added: "This was a hate crime against these completely harmless people targeted because their appearance was different to yours."

Goths emerged as a youth subculture in the early 1980s - although initially used to describe a form of music, it has evolved to encompass literature, art and fashion, with its exponents typically dressing in dark clothing.

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Goth clothes 'prompted killing'
12 Mar 08 |  Lancashire

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