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Hate Crime

We understand the shock and horror of being a victim of a hate crime or incident and want you to get the much needed help and support as soon as possible. We regularly speak to victims and signpost them to where they can report and seek help.

We do not have the resources to offer more than understanding and moral support, but we work with police authorities across England and Wales and we are hopeful that they now have a better understanding of your experience.

The first place to start is always the police – it is important that they are aware that you have been a victim so they can report your experience. They can also refer you to Victim Support who can offer the support needed following a crime or incident.

You can report a hate crime on the phone – call 999 in an emergency or otherwise ring 101, the national police telephone number which is staffed 24/7 to give support and advice. You can also report it online with your local police authority or nationally, through the True Vision reporting site. Many victims feel better when they have told someone – they want to be heard.

For more specialist hate crime help, Stop Hate UK offer a service in some areas of England. They work to challenge all forms of hate crime and discrimination based on any aspect of an individual’s identity.

Crimestoppers is an independent charity that enables you to report crime anonymously by phone and online, 24/7, 365 days a year. After receiving your call or a completed anonymous online form, a report is sent to the relevant authority with the legal responsibility to investigate the crime. Tel: 0800 555 111.

Have you been a victim of hate crime? – You should:

Call 101 or 999
in an emergency

Tell someone, please don’t suffer this alone.

Definition of Alternative Subculture

“Alternative Subculture means a discernible group that is characterized by a strong sense of collective identity and a set of group-specific values and tastes that typically centre on distinctive style/clothing, make- up, body art and music preferences.
Those involved usually stand out in the sense their distinctiveness is discernible both to fellow participants and to those outside the group. Groups that typically place themselves under the umbrella of “alternative” include Goths, emos, punks, metalllers and some variants of hippie and dance culture (although this list is not exhaustive).”
Sylvia Lancaster OBE
Professor Jon Garland
Dr Paul Hodkinson
March 2013

Sophie: The Face of Hate Crime

Sophie’s murder was treated as a hate crime by Judge Russell who sentenced the murderers accordingly. Under the current UK Hate Crime Legislation (Section 146), as the motivation behind the murder was hateful, he was able to use his discretion to class it as a hate crime. Sylvia’s campaigning to add hate crime against alternative people added to the reportable hate crime strands, has been to ensure that the sentencing and judgement for this crime is treated equitably with the existing monitored strands.

The police and the CPS have agreed the following definition for identifying and flagging hate crimes: “Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on a person’s disability or perceived disability; race or perceived race; or religion or perceived religion; or sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation or transgender identity or perceived transgender identity.”

The police however, do recognise that there are other people who suffer from similar hostilities based on their own characteristics. At Sophie’s trial, Judge Russell branded Sophie’s attack as a hate crime, equal to all other strands of hate.

The Perpetrators

Following Sophie’s death on the 24th August 2007, five teenage boys were charged with her murder and the attack on her boyfriend, Robert. On the first day of the trial however, in March 2008, Ryan Herbert pleaded guilty to Sophie’s murder, Brendan Harris pleaded not guilty and was sent to trial and the murder charges were dropped on the remaining three – Joseph and Daniel Hulme and Daniel Mallet. All five pleaded guilty to Section 18 Assault (with intent) for the attack on Robert.

After a two week trial Harris was found guilty by the jury at Preston Crown Court.

In his closing remarks, Judge Anthony Russell QC, described the attack as “feral thuggery” and commented that the perpetrators’ behaviour on that night “degrades humanity itself”. Lord Justice Russell described the Goth community as “perfectly peaceful law-abiding people who pose no threat to anybody”. He said of the crime: “This was a hate crime against these completely harmless people targeted because their appearance was different to yours.” 

At the sentencing on 28th April 2008, Judge Russell gave the teenagers indefinite sentences for public protection (IPP) as “dangerous” offenders and treated it as a hate crime using Section 146.

The sentences were:

  • Ryan Herbert – 16 years 3 months (later reduced by 9 months on appeal)
  • Brendan Harris – 18 years
  • Joseph Hulme – 5 years 10 months
  • Daniel Hulme – 5 years 10 months
  • Daniel Mallett – 4 years 4 months

In February 2020 it was announced that Ryan Herbert’s minimum jail term has been reduced by a year due to the exceptional progress he has made in prison.