This story strikes home very hard to me as I witnessed the aftermath, but had no idea what had actually happened until the following day. Johnny Delaney was from a travelling family, situated in Liverpool, but decided to travel to Ellesmere Port, to visit some friends. It was May 28th 2003. Fifteen year old Johnny was with some of his friends when an argument of sorts broke out between Johnny`s friends and a group of local youths. They ran from this group but Johnny tripped and fell. They were on him and started kicking the living daylights out of him. They split but two carried on, kicking and stamping on the head of the helpless lad. Witnesses shouted at them to stop but they stated in court that these two responded with "He`s only a fucking gypsy" then they ran off. Paramedics called rushed him to the Countess of Chester Hospital where he later died.
Right from the start, local Police called this a race hate crime, and soon had the youths in custody. The two boys were charged with murder but in Chester Crown Court, despite the evidence of witnesses, the Judge stated that it was not a hate crime. Plus, they were cleared of murder but found guilty of Manslaughter, and sentenced to four and a half years, which incredibly, they appealed. The Delaney Family were appalled at the remarks of the Judge and the leniency of the sentence. As far as they were concerned, their son was killed simply for being a gypsy. Police still viewed it as a hate crime. A shrine has been set up by his family at the spot where he was brutally attacked, and is visited and maintained by other gypsies and travellers.
Where do I fit in? I had just come home from work and looked out of my bedroom window and saw a lad lying down on the field. This huge field backs on to the houses on the upper part of Grace Road. My house was on the opposite side of the road but there is a gap between the terraced houses and therefore I could see much of the field. There are usually lots of kids playing football or cricket on the field, and many just lie down, taking it easy. That is what I thought I saw. Minutes later, two paramedics were kneeling over him. My thought was somebody had gotten hurt playing football, or something similar. It was the next day that I was told what had happened. Police made extensive door to door enquiries, with me telling them what I saw, and also what my girlfriend had seen during the day. The cop speaking to us made it clear that they were treating it as a hate crime. I have had plenty to say about some cops in Ellesmere Port but in this instance, they did everything right. They supported the Delaney family with the contention that it was racially motivated.
I wonder if the two young thugs now walk about boasting about being killers, attempting to instill fear or "respect?" Certainly, the courts in this country are too cowardly to accept that, repeated kicking, stamping and jumping on the head of a completely helpless victim is MURDER!!!!! A victim lying dead with a shattered skull from this kind of onslaught is NOT accidental. It is premeditated. I feel that the courts must not upset the professional apologists, with their excuses, hand wringing, and blaming everybody except the assailants. Sadly, this crime is common in this country but it is time that the Justice System woke up and hit these thugs with all the force that can be mustered.