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Mother of murdered goth Sophie Lancaster dies in hospital

Sylvia Lancaster, mother of murdered Sophie, stands outside Preston Crown Court after the sentencing of two teenagers for the murder of her daughter in 2007. (PA)
Sylvia Lancaster, mother of murdered Sophie, stands outside Preston Crown Court after the sentencing of two teenagers for the murder of her daughter in 2007. (PA)

The mother of murdered goth Sophie Lancaster has died, the charity she set up has announced.

Sylvia Lancaster, who founded the Sophie Lancaster Foundation in her daughter’s memory, passed away in Blackburn Hospital on Tuesday, the charity said in a statement on Facebook.

Ms Lancaster’s daughter was 20 when she was set upon by drunk teenagers in a park in Bacup, Lancashire in 2007.

The gang turned on her and her boyfriend, Rob Maltby, 21, who survived the attack, because of their alternative appearance.

Miss Lancaster was kicked and stamped on as she cradled the injured Mr Maltby.

Investitures at Buckingham Palace
Sophie Lancaster died in 2007 after being attacked (Lancashire Police/PA)

Both fell into comas but Miss Lancaster, a gap-year student, never regained consciousness and died in hospital 13 days later.

A message posted to the foundation’s Facebook page on Tuesday read: “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.

“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.

Investitures at Buckingham Palace
Sylvia Lancaster holds her OBE after it was presented to her by the Prince of Wales at an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London in 2014 (Archive/PA)

“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.”

Mrs Lancaster was awarded an OBE in 2014 for her work to tackle hate crime.

Her death comes after the Parole Board decided in March that one of her daughter’s killers, Ryan Herbert, can be released on licence, 15 years after he took part in the attack.

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