by Catherine Smyth - £7.99 Pomona Books (2010)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781904590279 | ISBN 10: 1904590276
Twenty-year-old Sophie Lancaster was kicked to death by a pack of 'feral' youths at her local park in Bacup, Lancashire. Her boyfriend, Rob Maltby, was also set upon and received life-threatening injuries.
Their only 'crime' was to dress differently, as 'goths' or 'moshers' in the easy shorthand of the media, which cited the killing as another example of Broken Britain.
Catherine Smyth was the first reporter on the scene and remained at the heart of the story throughout. A mother herself, she writes evocatively of the impact it had on both the Lancaster family and Bacup itself.
She has unearthed several anomalies: the police admitted initially attending the wrong park and the ambulance took 14 minutes to travel a distance of a mile in reaching the scene of the attack.
While relating the horrific nature of the attack, Smyth also focuses on the good to rise from evil - a town rallying in support of a stricken family, a mother showing incredibly dignity and, most important of all, a campaign launched to inform the world of the grave dangers of intolerance. As one banner carried at a parade in memory of Sophie proclaimed: 'Hate is easy - love takes courage'.
The profits from sales of this book will be divided equally between the author, publisher and The Sophie Lancaster Foundation.
(Price & availability last checked: January 2019)
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