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10 years after UK gay teen Michael Causer’s murder, where’s the justice?

Written by gaytourism

Michael Causer was murdered in Liverpool

RIP Michael Causer.

Ten years ago, on a Friday in a Liverpool hospital, a bruised and beaten gay teenager took his final breath.

Michael Causer, 18, was the victim of murder. The teen had gone to a house party a week earlier. He died on 2 August 2008.

Michael Causer murdered 10 years ago

James O’Connor, 20 at the time, admitted to the killing. He was given a life sentence for the murder – a minimum of 11 and a half years. Three other men walked away with their freedom.

Michael went to the party with his cousins. While he slept, thugs found sexually explicit photos on Michael’s phone.

Yelling slurs like ‘queer little faggot’, O’Connor stamped on his head.

Michael was assaulted so badly a blood clot formed on his brain, his jaw was also fractured and the bones of his face were broken.

Justice ‘not served’

O’Connor moved to an open prison last year.

Peter Tatchell, veteran human rights campaigner, told Gay Star News the police and media failed Michael.

‘The police and media failed to take seriously the homophobic murder of 18-year-old Michael Causer in Liverpool in 2008,’ he said.

‘There was no major national publicity or appeal for witnesses. In contrast, the earlier racist murder of black Liverpudlian, Anthony Walker, resulted in nationwide media coverage and police appeals for many weeks.

‘Why the double standards? This kind of official indifference discourages many LGBTI victims from reporting homophobic hate crimes.

‘Despite the evidence of homophobic abuse against Michael by his attackers, the judge ruled that there was no homophobic motive by the man convicted of his killing. This ruling greatly damaged gay people’s confidence that they can get justice.

‘Michael and his family were badly let down by the criminal justice system. They were failed by the police, prosecution service and judiciary.’

How Michael’s death inspired Pride in Liverpool

Two years after Michael’s death, the first Liverpool Pride happened.

Joan Burnett, one of the trustees, said the murder has changed how Liverpool sees its LGBTI community.

Ten years on, we have lots of people thinking about us. The city sees Pride as part of its culture,’ she told the Liverpool Echo.

‘It was a big shock to people that that sort of homophobia was still active in the city.

‘The city likes to stand up for its own and I think people have really got behind us.’

‘Even if they had all got life, you wouldn’t think that was justice, could you?’ Michael’s mum, Marie O’Connor, said in a documentary.

‘You couldn’t accept what they’ve done.’

Michael’s mum: ‘He was an inspiration to everyone that met him’ 

She said after the murder, she focused on looking after her four other children and grandchildren. She got a part-time job, helping disabled children get to school.

Marie also helps a lot with the Michael Causer Foundation, providing housing and support to vulnerable LGBTI young people.

She remembers him as coming out to him at 14.

‘He wasn’t the typical boy that wanted cars, he wanted dolls,’ she said.

A hairdresser after leaving school, he volunteered to help disadvantaged and disabled children.

‘He was just an inspiration to everyone that met him,’ she said.

‘Everyone just accepted him.’

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