Churches should speak out after gay teen dies in hate crime

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A local councillor in Liverpool has called on the city’s religious leaders to come together to condemn violence against gay people after a teenager died after a homophobic attack.

Steve Radford, leader of the Liberal party, represents Tuebrook and Stoneycroft ward.

He told that it is vital the churches take a stand.

He added that the local press in Liverpool have been very supportive of the gay community in the way they have reported the death of 18-year-old Michael Causer.

He was attacked by three youths on Friday 25th July and suffered serious head injuries.

Despite surgery at the Walton Neurology Centre to try to reduce swelling on his brain, he died at 2:30pm on Saturday.

Two men, Gavin Alker aged 19 and James O’Connor, 18, both from the Huyton area, where the attack took place, have been charged with grievous bodily harm.

A third man from the area, aged 19, has been charged with witness intimidation.

Merseyside police said the attack was being treated as a homophobic hate crime.

A Home Office post mortem is to be conducted to confirm the cause of the death after which the police said they will consult with the Crown Prosecution Service about the possible further charges.

On a facebook group set up in memorial to Mr Causer, there are calls for a protest march in the city.

More than 1,700 people have joined the group and many have left messages condemning his death.

Councillor Radford, who is gay, told that the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Forum will meet this Wednesday to discuss how to respond to Mr Causer’s death.

He stressed the need for all sections of society in Liverpool to speak out.

“I think we have to make sure that what we do must be dignified and inclusive.

“I want the civic and religious leaders to come together, like we saw after the murder of Anthony Walker.”

Anthony, 18, was murdered with an ice axe in a racially-motivated attack in Huyton in 2005.

“A protest march may give the wrong impression and we also have to be very sensitive to the personal wishes of the family.”

Councillor Radford said that given the importance of the churches in Liverpool he wants the city’s Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops to join with other religious leaders to lead a protest against homophobia “with the same robustness that they showed against racial hatred.”

Merseyside Police said today:

“All the people arrested in connection to this incident were known to the victim and no one else is being sought.”