Mum of Sophie Lancaster dies 'suddenly' in hospital after years of campaigning for daughter killed for looking like goth

Mum of Sophie Lancaster dies 'suddenly' in hospital after years of campaigning for daughter killed for looking like goth

April 12, 2022

A MUM whose daughter was brutally kicked to death because she was dressed as a goth has died after years of campaigning.

Sylvia Lancaster, who was given an OBE in 2014 for her campaign against hate crime, worked with young offenders before her daughter, Sophie was killed.

Sophie was murdered by a “feral” gang of teenagers in the “savage” attack which left her boyfriend hospitalised in Lancashire, in 2007.

The 20-year-old passed away three days after being attacked by Ryan Herbert, who was 16 at the time of the incident.

Her mother devoted her life to campaigning for The Sophie Lancaster Foundation.

Today, a post on their website revealed Sylvia sadly passed away suddenly this morning.


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It 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.

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

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"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."


It comes as Sophie's killer Herbert, 30, is set to be released from prison after the Parole Board last week ruled that he has made “significant changes to his life.”

He was jailed for life in 2008, and ordered to serve a minimum of 16 years – which was then reduced to 14 and a half on appeal.

Just last month Sylvia blasted the decision, claiming she was not given an explanation as to why her daughter’s killer will be allowed to walk free.

She told the Guardian: “Fourteen years ago he was given a 16-year sentence. What are they saying?

“Are they saying that the crime is not as important as it was then? I find that quite a difficult concept to deal with.

“People will say he’s done his time. That’s all right for him and his family. What about me and mine? When do we finish doing our time?

“Not only does it take your daughter’s life and her future, in reality they take your future as well.

“It doesn’t matter how liberal and left wing you are. At the end of the day, they’ve taken a life. That’s just as important 16 years ago as it is now. It doesn’t alter the facts.”

Sophie was so severely beaten that paramedics were unable to distinguish if she was a man or woman.

She had visible trainer marks on her face where Herbert and others stamped on her head until she fell into a coma.

A Parole Board hearing was told that the killer had made “exceptional progress in his rehabilitation” and ruled that he had made “significant changes to his life which reflected his remorse, his insight and increased maturity”.

Herbert was moved to an open prison in November 2020, and “improved his education with studies to degree level.”

Sylvia was given the opportunity to give a victim impact statement to the hearing, but chose not to as she felt that she would be “dismissed."


The Parole Board said it “very carefully” considered the views of victims and that it was “mindful of the life-changing impact of Mr Herbert’s offending on the victims and their families”.

Sylvia was left feeling “fed up” after evidence to previous parole hearings was “ignored”, adding: “They just ignored what we said.

“You get to the stage where you just think, well, there’s no point really. They’re not going to take any notice.

"It’s as though your voice doesn’t matter. You’re silenced.

“As a family, you’ve got justice – or as much justice as you’re ever going to get, and you know that. And then to start chipping away at it is really quite insulting.

“Once again, it seems that everything is focused on the perpetrator. Where is the victim’s voice in all of this?

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“I wonder sometimes if I did forgive him would that make it easier? Well, no I don’t really.

“You’ve to be down and dirty to do what they did. I can’t forgive.”

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