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Sophie Lancaster’s mum Sylvia has tragically died

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Sophie Lancaster Foundation

Sophie Lancaster’s mum has tragically passed away today, it’s been confirmed.

Sylvia Lancaster campaigned tirelessly following the murder of her daughter Sophie back in 2007 in a park in Bacup.

Sophie was kicked to death trying to protect her boyfriend, with the couple attacked because they were dressed as goths.

Sylvia devoted her life to running a foundation in Sophie’s name, with The Sophie Lancaster Foundation created to promote tolerance and stamp out prejudice and hatred.

She sadly passed away in hospital this morning.

A statement on the charity’s website reads: “This is the hardest statement to write. It is with great shock and disbelief that we announce that Sylvia Lancaster has passed away. She died early this morning in Blackburn hospital.

“She had suffered from ill health for the last couple of years, but her death was sudden and unexpected. Sylvia had such a powerful life force; we cannot imagine a world without her in it.”

The tribute continued: “Following Sophie’s brutal murder, Sylvia put her energy into championing people from alternative subcultures and creating educational programmes to tackle prejudice and intolerance.

“She worked tirelessly to combat the inaccurate and lazy stereotyping that all too often leads to violent prejudice and promoted a culture of celebrating difference; something that leads to safer communities for us all.

“Sylvia was formidable. She challenged authority and fought for what she believed in. Her legacy is that Sophie will never be forgotten, and her daughter’s name will always represent her mission – to Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere.

“She will be sadly missed.

“There will be much to say over the course of the next few months. Initially all our thoughts are focused on supporting Adam and his family in the coming days and weeks.

“Hold those you love a little bit closer today.

“We are finishing for the last time using Sylvia’s sign off. Love and Light, The Sophie Lancaster Foundation Team.”

Family photo of Sophie Lancaster

Sylvia recently spoke of her disappointment, as her daughter’s murderer Ryan Herbert is set to be freed from prison.

Herbert was sixteen-years-old when he was jailed for life in 2008 for murdering Sophie, twenty, in a park in Bacup, Lancashire.

Sophie and her boyfriend, Robert Maltby, were attacked by Herbert and five other teenage boys on August 11th, 2007. Sophie bore the brunt of the attack as she attempted to protect Robert from the assault, which was believed to have been provoked over their goth appearances.

The couple were so badly beaten that when paramedics arrived, they could not tell if they were male or female.

Lancashire Police

Herbert admitted both murder and assault causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and was given a minimum term of sixteen years and three months, though this was later reduced to fifteen and a half years.

Last month, it was announced that Herbert will be released from prison, with High Court judge Mr Justice William Davis concluding that he had made ‘exceptional progress’ behind bars.

Speaking to ITV News at the time, Sylvia said: “They haven’t done justice for our Sophie. All you want at the end of the day is justice.

“You don’t want anything out of the ordinary, you just want justice.”

The Sophie Lancaster Foundation

Reacting to the Parole Board’s conclusion that Herbert has made ‘significant changes to his life which reflected his remorse, his insight and increased maturity’, Sylvia said: “I hope he has. I hope he has for his sake and for society’s sake.

“We don’t want men walking round with vicious and ridiculous ideas about how he should behave.

“I do understand that people can change – and do change – but I think that we’ll sit back and see what happens.”

 

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Boy, 14, guilty of murdering 12-year-old Ava White after Snapchat video row

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The Trinity Catholic Primary School

A boy has been found guilty of stabbing Ava White to death in Liverpool.

The 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of murdering Ava, 12, at court today.

The incident happened following a row over a Snapchat video, with the court hearing that a ‘chance encounter’ with the 14-year-old boy led to her tragic death.

Wikimedia Commons

Ava was stabbed in the neck at Liverpool’s Christmas lights switch-on last November, after asking a group of boys to stop filming her and friends, Sky News reports.

A jury was told that the defendant then laughed and ran away following the attack, although the boy claimed he had acted in self-defence and denied murder.

However, he was found guilty after the two-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Family members were left in tears in court after a 20-second clip showing the stabbing – which happened on November 25th – was played.

The boy, who was found to have a 7.5cm flick blade, previously pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon.

Ava and several of her friends, who were all aged between 11 and 15, shared some alcohol together near the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool city centre when the boy and his friends saw them and filmed a video for Snapchat.

Prosecutor Charlotte Newell QC said Ava asked them to stop filming before the boys started ‘jeering’ at her – she then ran towards them before the defendant ‘thrust a knife into the neck of this unarmed child’.

She told the court: “His reaction at the time was to smirk, to laugh and to run away, leaving Ava to die whilst he sought to distance himself from his actions.”

Ava’s last words were ‘don’t leave me’, as she lay dying on the ground.

The court heard that the boy ‘began a conscious cover-up’ after the incident, attempting to discard his knife, phone and coat.

When arrested he told a ‘series of lies’ about his movements at the time of the killing, the jury was told, saying he was playing Call of Duty at a mate’s house, before saying another boy had stabbed Ava.

While giving evidence, the 14-year-old claimed he was ‘scared’ Ava was going to ‘jump him’,  and that he was only trying to ‘frighten her away’ because he was ‘scared’ – telling court he thought Ava was a boy and might have had ‘a weapon’.

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Kurt Zouma charged with three offences over cat kicking videos

The footballer was filmed abusing his cat at the start of this year

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Kurt Zouma / Instagram

Kurt Zouma has been charged with three offences under the Animal Welfare Act after he was filmed kicking his pet cat.

The charges are in relation to the now-infamous videos that showed the West Ham footballer abusing the cat.

Kurt is accused of two counts of causing ‘unnecessary suffering’ to the cat by kicking it in the abdomen and slapping it in the head.

He is also charged with failing to protect the cat from ‘pain suffering, injury or disease’.

His brother and fellow footballer Yoan has also been charged for his involvement in the incident, which he filmed and posted onto Snapchat.

Yoan is accused of two counts of ‘aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring’ Kurt to commit the offence of causing unnecessary suffering to the cat.

The brothers are set to appear at Thames Magistrates’ Court tomorrow (May 24th) for a preliminary hearing following a joint investigation from the RSPCA and Essex Police.

After the video started circulating on social media in February, the RSPCA removed two cats from Kurt’s home and began liaising with Essex Police about the incident.

In a statement at the time of the video’s circulation, the RSPCA said: “The two cats are now in RSPCA care. Our priority is and has always been the wellbeing of these cats.

“They’ve been taken for a check-up at a vets and then will remain in our care while the investigation continues.

“We’re grateful to everyone who expressed their concern for these cats. We were dealing with this issue before the video went viral online and are leading the investigation.

“We continue to investigate so we cannot comment further at this time.”

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Sue Gray report set to be ‘published in full next week’ as partygate investigation ends

The police announced the end of their investigation today

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The long-awaited Sue Gray report into Downing Street misconduct during the Covid pandemic is due to be published in full next week as the police’s investigation concludes.

The report – which investigated a series of alleged breaches of Covid lockdown in 10 Downing Street and Whitehall – was completed in January, but the publication of the full document was delayed at the request of the Metropolitan Police as they completed their own investigation.

But today, the police announced their inquiry into Downing Street lockdown breaches has come to an end, meaning Gray’s report could be published as soon as next week.

A source close to Gray and her team said she now intends to publish her report ‘as soon as possible’, adding that it could come as early as next week, according to The Independent.

The shortened version of Gray’s report noted that there was a ‘serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government, but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time’.

Gray also stated that because the Government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is ‘difficult to justify’.

Stand-out points from the report include:

  • There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times.
  • The excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time.
  • The use of the garden at No 10 Downing Street should be primarily for the Prime Minister and the private residents of No 10 and No 11 Downing Street.
  • The leadership structures are fragmented and complicated and this has sometimes led to the blurring of lines of accountability.
  • Some staff wanted to raise concerns about behaviours they witnessed at work but at times felt unable to do so.

Flickr / Number 10

The police’s investigation resulted in a total of 126 fines, known as Fixed Penalty Notices, being issued for events across eight different dates.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were both fined for their involvement in parties and events held during the lockdowns.

Twenty-eight people have been issued with more than one fine, the force added.

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