Discussion evening will debate the murder of East Lancashire teenager Sophie Lancaster

Journalist and author Catherine Smyth
Journalist and author Catherine Smyth
Share this article

A special evening to discuss and debate the murder of Sophie Lancaster will be held at her former school.

In response to a request from Sylvia, Sophie’s mother, a fundraising event will be held at Haslingden High School Sixth Form Centre on Monday June 3 at 7pm when the tables will be turned on journalist Catherine Smyth, author of ‘Weirdo Mosher Freak’, which documents the murder.

Sophie died as a result of her injuries sustained in a mob attack in a park in Bacup in August 2007. Two teenage boys were later convicted of her murder and jailed for life.

Catherine said: “Last year I led an interview with the author Denise Beddows about her book ‘Odd Man Out - a Motiveless Murder’. That detailed a murder that happened 70 years ago. Maggie Allen confessed and was later hanged for the murder of Nancy Chadwick.

“I was tasked to examine the book and put questions to the author in front of an audience at Rawtenstall Cricket Club.”

Director of Antony and Patricia Salon, in Rawtenstall, Tony Winder organised the Denise Beddows’ evening, which Sylvia was unfortunately not able to attend.

He said: “Shortly after, while Sylvia was having her hair done, we were discussing the evening and she said, ‘I wish someone would do that about our Soph.’ That was the catalyst which has led to June’s event being organised.”

In the audience for the Denise Beddows’ interview was Garry Gluyas, who was brought up in Rossendale, and is a good friend of Tony.

He has agreed to conduct the interview and has been examining Catherine’s book, both the original 2010 ‘Weirdo Mosher Freak’ and the updated 2016 version ‘The Sophie Lancaster Story’.

Catherine said: “This time I will be the person being interviewed and for me it will be strange not to be putting the questions.

“I was the news editor of the Rossendale Free Press at the time of the attack in August 2007 which resulted in Sophie’s murder 13 days later.

“As I only lived two miles from the park and Bacup was ‘my patch’, I was informed about the incident by a friend before statements had been released by the police.

“I followed the case closely and got involved with fundraising because I was annoyed that such a senseless act had happened on my doorstep.”

Tony, Catherine, Garry and Sylvia have collaborated to arrange the evening.

Sylvia will set the scene by describing her daughter and both Sylvia and Catherine will be answering questions from the audience

Sylvia said: “If you don’t talk about things you don’t learn from them. We have to look at why this happened and how it came about so that lessons are learnt to stop it ever occurring again.”

All profits from the evening will benefit The Sophie Lancaster Foundation and tickets are on sale priced £5 from Antony & Patricia Salon, Rawtenstall, 01706 217129. Copies of Catherine’s book ‘Weirdo Mosher Freak’ will also be on sale.