Crimes Against Metal Fans to Be Considered 'Hate Crime'

Murder of Sophie Lancaster leads to change in categorization.

Ultimate Guitar

Following the murder of Sophie Lancaster in 2007, Manchester Police have recognized that attacks against fans of metal, goth, emo and punk music are to be listed as hate crimes, as Classic Rock reports. The move comes after pressures from the Sophie Lancaster Foundation to bring attention to attacks against people who listen to heavy or dark music.

Greater Manchester Police's Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan has issued the following statement: "People who wish to express their alternative subculture identity should not have to tolerate hate crime."

Sophie's mother Sylvia adds: "Its a validation of the work we have undertaken in the past five years. Hopefully other forces will follow."

The change in category means that there will be more support made available to the victims of such crimes. It does not mean a change in sentencing for those guilty of offenses. While the move has not been rolled out across the whole of the UK, Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone last year admitted that the current list of hate crime categories in the UK was "incomplete."

Sophie and her boyfriend Robert Maltby were attacked in 2007 because they were wearing goth clothes. Two of their assailants were sentenced to life in jail while three others were convicted of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

34 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Does this protect nazi-punks? Because they can **** off.
    I did nazi that coming anne frankly it probably does. Seriously though I think it will cover them due to them being in a sub culture fitting into the description of said stereotypes. Doesn't matter what they believe.
    but they are more than just a sub genre, its like they think theyre racialy superior. plus theres a violent background. Rock fans never hurt people for not looking a certain way.
    Surely stamping and kicking someone to death doesn't need categorising as a "hate crime"? Of course, the same outlook must also be extended to chavs, urban types, hipsters, geeks, nerds, oompa loompas, and anyone else who belongs to any kind of social grouping based solely on appearance. BTW, my opinion in no way detracts from the tragedy of Sophie's killing - it is painful to think that somebody dies because of the small-minded prejudiced views of a moron. However, this police action isn't going to change anything. Antagonism towards sub-cultures has always and will always be there.
    Of course, the same outlook must also be extended to chavs, urban types, hipsters, geeks, nerds, oompa loompas, and anyone else who belongs to any kind of social grouping based solely on appearance.
    Well yes. That's what a hate crime is, attacking someone because of who they are or their lifestyle choices. If someone goes "Hey, look, a chav. Let's go break his skull with a brick" they didn't do that due to provocation, for his money, or any other reason, they did it because they hated how he chose to look. Which is a disgusting attitude for a person to have and one that society needs to address, and broadening the definition of hate crime to include lifestyle choices such as dressing like a particular subculture is a step in the right direction.
    While I agree with you that it's a disgusting attitude to have...the fact that they feel like they have to "broaden the definition" seems ridiculous to me. I guess it wouldn't be "news" otherwise...
    I find this interesting, at what does it become a hate crime? When I get beaten up wearing my sublime tshirt? So if I go out wearing a ripcurl tshirt they will get a lesser sentence? Also Im pretty sure Manchester Police dont drive Crown Vics
    I don't think it has anything to do with metal. Killing somebody that likes metal is just the same as killing anybody else; it's murder, and should be dealt with accordingly...
    It has. The reason behind the killing was that the victim was of a certain subculture, a subculture that "differs from the normal people's way of living"(And by the way, that way can sometimes be bullshit).
    It doesn't have anything to do with subcultures. If you think about it, the purpose is not convicting them of hating a certain "subculture," they are being convicted of the crime they committed. If you could convict someone for hate, then we would all be behind bars...
    Gerard Way Jr
    Christ, do we need a PC term for everything? It's murder. Who gives a **** what else it's called?
    While it is still murder, and perpetrators will still be dealt with the same as other murderers when sentenced, defining it separately because of the motive allows for differences in how the investigation is approached and for strategies to prevent it from happening in the first place. Larger police forces have different departments for different things, which I believe in some cities includes a department specialising in those at risk from hate crime, such as ethnic or sexual minorities. By classifying murder or assault because of a person's chosen subculture as a hate crime, it puts it in the jurisdiction of that department, meaning it is being dealt with by officers specially trained in raising awareness and changing attitudes to hate crime, helping victims of hate crime and profiling and identifying perpetrators of hate crime. It's more complex than just murder.
    I've been jumped and attacked before for being a "metalhead", but I couldn't give a f**k about it. It's part of life, there are always going to be people out there who don't like you for some reason.
    There's a difference between "don't like" and "will murder you or cause grievous bodily harm." Being attacked shouldn't be part of life.
    Axeman Eugene
    Wow, people are actually attacked/killed for liking a certain type of music?!
    Where the f*ck have you been for the last 50 years? It pretty much all started with the mods and rockers in the 60's, most people know what that is, but in brief, it was an endless stream of fights between 2 subcultures. We've still not moved on from this sh*t as was made obvious with Sophie's murder and the hundreds of thousands of teens who get attacked for being "alternative". I myself have been targeted for such reasons, so in answer to your question, yes, people are shallow enough to attack others for no reason beyond "they look different to me and listen to different music" and it's nothing new. Sorry for the essay, I wanted to answer your question and make my own general comment on this news.
    I am 40 years old now but growing up as a metaller I was beaten up every other day just for liking metal. Its always been a hate crime in my eyes. It doesnt happen anymore as I am not afraid of these tracksuit wearing twats and will give as good as I get. I love metal and in some ways it saved my life. Most people I know that into the music never bothered anyone unlike these narrow-minded people. So if were freaks thats our business and if you dont like it f&&k off and tell someone who gives a s&&t!