Clapham Common authority promise to fight homophobia

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The local authority in charge of Clapham Common, where gay barman Jody Dobrowski was murdered in a homophobic attack, has promised to create a safer area.

Thomas Pickford, 25, and Scott Walker, 33, both of no fixed address were sentenced to life in prison today after earlier admitted killing Mr Dobrowski in October 2005.

Councillor Mark Bennett, Cabinet Member for Community Safety at Lambeth Council, said: “Lambeth Council sends sympathies to the family of Jody Dobrowski at this difficult time. But we know that in case like this, sympathy must backed up with action.

“This murder was a despicable crime that has shocked everybody in Lambeth, a borough known for its commitment to tolerance and diversity, fostered over many years.

“Today we send out the message that hate crime of any kind should never be tolerated, whether the motive is one of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Individuals like Pickford and Walker have no place in Lambeth. Their sentence reflects the evil of any hate crime.

“We greatly value the role our LGBT communities play in the life of this borough. An example of this is that we jointly fund an LGBT co-ordinator as part of the Safer Lambeth Partnership, and we work closely with the police and the community to help make sure victims of hate crime can speak to the police with confidence.

“The Council has recently finished a piece of research into the needs and experiences of LGBT people who live, work, and socialise in Lambeth. We will publish the results shortly, working closely with the LGBT communities and LGBT businesses to take forward the recommendations and findings of the report.

“We are also working on a new hate crime strategy to ensure we are able to look at this important issue in a more focused and forward-thinking way than previously.

“We can best remember Jody Dobrowksi, and David Morley, by creating a Lambeth where people feel safer, where they can report trouble without fear and where they know they will be supported by strong and fair services.”

Mr Dobrowski, 24, assistant manager at Bar Risa Jongleurs, in Camden, was found unconscious in south London last year and died in hospital with head, neck and facial injuries.

The former Biology student’s injuries made him so unrecognisable that he had to be identified by his fingerprints.