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Police treat attack on goth teenager as hate crime

Campaigning by Sophie Lancaster Foundation leads Nottinghamshire Police to treat brutal assault on Ryan Winnals as hate crime

Police in Nottinghamshire are treating an attack on a teenage goth as a hate crime.

Ryan Winnals, 19, was so badly beaten by a gang of youths outside a Tesco store in Huthwaite on May 21 that he was left unconscious and ended up needing Surgery.

Nottinghamshire Police is the 11th UK police force to treat attacks on members of subcultures as hate crimes, thanks to tireless campaigning by Sylvia Lancaster – the mother of murdered goth Sophie Lancaster.

Ryan tells the BBC: "It all happened so fast. I was just leaning against the wall, sat on my phone, looking at something.

"I put my phone away, looked up, the next thing I know is I'm getting hit."

Nottinghamshire Police are appealing for witnesses to the attack, which took place at around 4pm.

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Ryan's stepmother Kelly Wilcockson says: "In this day and age I think it's disgraceful that you can be discriminated against because of what you wear or what colour your hair is, it's just disgusting.

"These thugs need catching. They can't go around doing that to other people and getting away with it.

"He's a young innocent lad, he's done nothing wrong, all because he was dressed as a gothic person."

Sophie Lancaster died in August 2007, when her family took the decision to switch off her life support two weeks after she and her boyfriend were viciously attacked by a gang of youths in Lancashire.

Doctors said she would never regain consciousness. Teenagers Brendan Harris and Ryan Herbert were sentenced to life imprisonment for Sophie's murder.

The Sophie Lancaster Foundation was set up with the aim of creating respect for and understanding of subcultures.

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