Youth aged 15 ‘kicked a woman to death because she was a Goth...
A drunken 15-year-old boy stamped to death a young student because she was dressed in the distinctive fashion of a ‘Goth’, a court was told yesterday.
Sophie Lancaster, 20, and her boyfriend Robert Maltby, 21, had been meandering home through a skate park late on a Friday night when they were set upon by a gang of teenagers in a savage and unprovoked attack, the jury heard.
The five-strong gang acted “like a pack of wild animals”, first targeting their violence on Mr Maltby, an arts student also dressed in the style of a Goth or mosher, raining punches and kicks on his head as Miss Lancaster pleaded with them to stop, it was alleged. It was as Miss Lancaster was kneeling down cradling her boyfriend’s head that the accused, along with another teenager who has already pleaded guilty to murder, are said to have turned their attention to her.
The two teenagers kicked and stamped on her head, the jury at Preston Crown Court was told.
One young witness, who tried to stop the violence, told police later: “It looked like they were running over and just kicking her in the head, jumping up and down on their head or summat . . . they were kicking her all over her head.”
Ambulance staff, who could not distinguish Miss Lancaster’s sex such were her injuries, took the couple to hospital where she died two weeks later without regaining consciousness. Her boyfriend, who has no memory of the night, survived but still suffers poor health.The defendant, who cannot be named, has already pleaded guilty with four others to causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Maltby. He denies murder, insisting he took no part in the attack on Miss Lancaster. Each of the youths lives in the area of Bacup, Lancashire.
Michael Shorrock, QC, prosecuting, told the jury: “These five teenagers, acting like a pack of wild animals, savagely and mercilessly attacked and beat unconscious, first Robert Maltby and then, as she tried to rescue and help him, his girlfriend.
“This defendant, together with another young man, attacked her and beat her into unconsciousness. It would appear that Mr Maltby and Miss Lancaster were singled out not for anything they had said or done but because they dressed differently.”
Mr Shorrock said that the couple had spent the evening last August at a friend’s house and had engaged a group of youths in friendly conversation.They were in the darkened skate park in nearby Stubbylee Park when the teenagers turned on them without warning or provocation, he said.
The attack was witnessed by other teenagers. They are expected to give evidence during the trial although some are reluctant to do so.
In a statement to police the 15-year-old said: “I remember that a lad shouted, ‘Somebody hit him’. I do not know why — I was drunk and showing off — but I stepped forward and hit the male . . . once. He did not fall over or even stagger. I remember that he started to laugh.”