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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 August, 2003, 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK
Fears over teen group rivalries
Artists such as Marilyn Manson have helped boost Goth numbers
As police in Newcastle investigate an horrific attack on a teenager which left the victim with burns to his face and body, concern has been raised about rivalries between gangs of youths in the city.

Mark Burdis, 17, suffered serious burns to his face, neck, chest and hands on 31 July after a burning liquid was thrown at him.

The seemingly unprovoked attack is believed to have been carried out by youths known as Charvers - a group distinguished by their obsession with designer clothes.

Mr Burdis was wearing a T-shirt carrying the image of rock star Marilyn Manson and it is believed he could have been targeted for being a Goth.

Gang fights

A Northumbria Police spokesman said a number of lines of inquiry are being followed by officers hunting Mr Burdis's attackers.

The spokesman said: "The motivation for the attack isn't clear and we are keeping an open mind on possible motives."

However, Charvers and Goths have clashed before during a 20-strong fight in Newcastle's Old Eldon Square.

This is a favourite gathering place for teenagers in the city and, following complaints from shopkeepers, attempts have been made to offer alternative venues and events to move the groups away from the square.

Mark Burdis
Mark Burdis was attacked while walking home
The increasing animosity between Goths and Charvers has drawn comparison with the Mods and Rockers clashes of the 1960s and late 70s.

Popular Goth culture dates back to the 1980s when bands like The Cure, Fields of the Nephilim, The Mission and Sisters of Mercy reached the height of their fame.

Marked by their black clothing and white make-up, Goths never disappeared completely but have grown in numbers since the late 1990s.

Charvers, on the other hand, have few musical attachments, but are marked out by devotion to designer and sports labels.



Rival gangs blamed for flame attack
07 Aug 03  |  Tyne/Wear
'They watched me burn', says teenager
06 Aug 03  |  Tyne/Wear

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