Jun 23 2010
I've spent a couple of weeks trying to figure out what I wanted to write about this, partly because it hits so close to home. I quietly followed the murder of Sophie Lancaster in 2007 because what happened to she and her boyfriend hit a little too close to home for me. Because it happened in the United Kingdom it really didn't have much of a media impact in the States, though word can and did get around. In summary, Lancaster and her boyfriend Robert Maltby of Lancashire, both of whom were part of the gothic subculture in the area, were jumped by a group of teens while out and about. Sophie Lancaster never regained consciousness after having her head kicked in and later died; she wound up bearing the brunt of the attack, which is probably what saved Robert's life. Two of the kids who did it got life in prison; the other three received sentences between four and six years each.
In the year 2009 the Lancaster family founded a charity organization in the UK to act as a legacy for Sophie as well as to challenge the prejudice faced by people who, to be blunt, don't look like all the other people for whatever reason. The Foundation is also campaigning for amendment of the United Kingdom's Hate Crime Laws in response to Sophie's murder. In the months since its official recognition the charity has gained attention internationally, and last month the Foundation announced the release of an online-only fundraiser album called Hope which features tracks donated by some of the luminaries of the gothic world, including Alien Sex Fiend, The Mission (UK), New Model Army, and Faith and the Muse. All of the money raised by sales of the album will go to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.