Sophie Lancaster, a goth rock fan from Lancashire, has died following a brutal attack by a gang of youths in a skate park. She was 20 years old.
Lancaster was walking with her boufriend, Robert Maltby, 21, through Bacup’s Stubbylee Park in the early hours of August 11 when the attack took place.
Both families have said that the couple were often singled out for abuse because of their black clothing and body piercings.
The couple were beaten unconscious in the attack and were left in coma, suffering from horrific head and facial injuries.
Maltby – who was treated for bleeding on the brain in Rochdale Infirmary – managed to make an emotional visit to his girlfriend in Salford’s Hope Hospital before her family agreed to turn off her life-support machine on August 23, after doctors said there was no chance of recovery.
In a press statement, Lancaster’s parents John and Sylvia said: "We were proud to know our daughter. She was funny, kind, loving and brave. She was a beautiful girl with a social conscience and values which made her a joy to know. Not being able to see her blossom inter her full potential or even to see her smile again is a tragedy beyond words."
Two teenagers – one aged 15, the other 17 – have been remanded in custody. Three others – aged between 15 and 17 – have been released on bail. The gang have each been charged with grievous bodily harm with intent and will appear before Burnley youth court on September 27.