Plea to Justice Minister over Sophie Lancaster attacker’s parole

Sophie Lancaster

Sophie Lancaster

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , .

THE mother of murdered Haslingden woman Sophie Lancaster is to challenge a decision to let one of people involved in the attack back into Rossendale.

Danny Hulme was part of a gang of five teenagers who attacked Sophie and her boyfriend Robert Maltby, in Stubbylee Park, Bacup, in August 2007.

Sophie, 20, was kicked to death trying to protect her partner. Hulme was found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent on Mr Maltby.

Hulme’s 10-year ban on visiting Bacup has been relaxed following his release from prison to allow him to visit his family.

Sophie’s mum, Sylvia, met Norman Baker MP, Minister of State for Crime Prevention, at the Home Office yesterday to discuss her work with the anti-hate crime charity she founded, the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.

Speaking after the meeting, Sylvia said: “It was a very positive meeting with Mr Baker and I’m happy that our work will be shared with other professionals in the field of hate crime. To have our work recognised as ‘best practice’ is very encouraging.”

Although the Parole Board’s decision to relax Hulme’s licence was not discussed at the meeting in London yesterday, Sylvia has taken up the matter with the probation service and the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling.

Speaking last Friday, she said: “I’m more than angry, I’m bewildered. When they were sentenced, it was stated then that they will not be allowed back into Rossendale.

“That’s one thing that you think: ‘Great, I can get on with my life’. Now, all of a sudden, he can.

“Have they not thought about the community?

“Anybody else, with a bit of common sense, would see that that isn’t right, to allow the perpetrator back into the area, where we could be shopping in the local shop and bump into him.

“I’m sure that can’t be right.”

Hulme, who was 16 at the time, his brother, Joseph, and a third boy, Daniel Mallet were all convicted of GBH against Mr Maltby.

Teenagers Brendan Harris and Ryan Herbert were found guilty of murdering Sophie because she was dressed in Goth-like clothes.

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