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Friday, October 14, 2011

Mother’s anger as teenager who kicked her Goth daughter to death posts Facebook pictures of his cushy prison life

-Ryan Herbert serving life for murder of 20-year-old Sophie Lancaster
-He obtained an illegal phone to access the site
-Flirted with girls and posted pictures of him using gym
-Sophie's mother: 'It's sheer arrogance. He should serve his sentence in peace and not say anything.'

By Simon Tomlinson

A 'feral thug' who kicked a woman to death because she was a Goth has been openly using Facebook in prison to flirt with girls, it has emerged.

The revelations have outraged Sylvia Lancaster, whose daughter Sophie was murdered in 2007.

She branded Ryan Herbert 'arrogant' and demanded that he serve his sentence in silence.

Herbert, who is serving life for the murder of 20-year-old Sophie, is believed to have used an illegal mobile phone to send flirty messages to female friends and post pictures of himself posing in the gym with fellow prisoners.

Prisoners are not allowed to use the social networking site, but Herbert, 20, is thought to have been using his account over a two-month period to send messages to some of his 110 friends.

On the website, Herbert describes himself as being from Bacup, Lancashire, and gives his correct date of birth.

The first message and pictures appeared on August 2 this year and the last post went up on October 4.

In one post, Herbert writes: 'Where all the ladys at?'.

Mrs Lancaster, from Haslingden in Rossendale, Lancashire, said: 'I try not to let it affect me, but it does bring things back.

Flaunting it: A view of Herbert's Facebook page showing his gym-toned body and hanging out with fellow prisoners

'Sophie's not here and has nothing. He is supposed to be in prison for life, but he's got a luxury such as a phone and other freedoms.'

Mrs Lancaster, who is on the Ministry of Justice's Hate Crime Advisory Board, added: 'He shouldn't have got hold of a phone.

'The fact he has 110 friends also is a disgrace, most of whom are female. It's sheer arrogance. He should serve his sentence in peace and not say anything.'

Senseless: Sophie Lancaster was attacked by a gang because she was a Goth

Furious: Sylvia Lancaster cradles a photograph of her daughter, Sophie, in 2008. She says Herbert shouldn't be allowed the luxury of using Facebook.

Sophie died 13 days after she and boyfriend Robert Maltby were attacked by Herbert, then 16, and Brendan Harris, then 15, in a brutal attack in Stubbylee Park, Bacup, in August 2007.

Herbert was given a minimum term of 16 years after admitting murder.

Harris was found guilty of murder and was given 18 years.

Harris's trial was told the pair were apparently singled out because they dressed as 'Goths' or 'moshers'.

In October 2008, Herbert had his sentence cut by nine months on appeal after arguing that he had not been given enough of a reduction for his guilty plea.

A spokesman for the Prison Service confirmed that the Facebook account, which appeared under the name Ryan Smith, was taken down on Tuesday.

A source said it was believed to be Herbert's account.

The spokesman said: 'Prisoners have no access to the internet and are barred from updating their Facebook accounts while serving their sentence or asking others to do so from outside prison.

'If they do, their accounts will be terminated. If a prisoner is found in illicit possession of a mobile phone or other contraband they will be dealt with appropriately by the prison.'

Young killers: Herbert (left) was just 16 years old when he and Brendan Harris, then 15, set upon Sophie and her boyfriend Robert Maltby in Stubbylee Park

Calling for tolerance: Mrs Lancaster (centre) holds a memorial banner to Sophie with supporters outside the murder trial at Preston Crown Court



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