When Jody Dobrowski walked onto Clapham Common on 14 October 2005 he had no idea he was about to meet two men who had a ‘pre-meditated plan to attack a gay man’ — until he met Thomas Pickford and Scott Walker.
After a brief exchange of words, the two men carried out a vicious and brutal homophobic attack on Jody. He was later found unconscious and died the following day in hospital.
Jody’s injuries were so severe that his family didn’t recognise him and he had to be identified by his fingerprints. Police officers who’d arrived at the murder scene described Jody’s face as ‘a bloody, swollen pulp’.
Pickford and Walker were later arrested and came to trial at the Old Bailey. They were found guilty and each served with a minimum of 28 years in prison.
Judge Brian Parker said: ‘It was Jody’s tragic misfortune to cross your path.
You subjected him to mindless abuse and showed him no mercy.’ He continued: ‘You took from him his most precious possessions — his life and future.’ Jody was 24.
Three years ago the Metropolitan Police, 17-24-30 No To Hate Crime Campaign and members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender) community raised money for a memorial bench for Jody, to be placed on Clapham Common.
This year is the 10th anniversary of Jody’s murder. On Saturday 17 October at midday, CCMAC, local residents and members of the LGBT community will meet at Jody’s bench to plant daffodil bulbs in his memory and as a mark of respect.
If you have witnessed or been a victim of homophobic hate crime please contact the Police (999 in an emergency, 101 if not an emergency). You can also report hate crime online to the Police via the True Vision website www.report-it.org.uk or via any open police station.
Alternatively you can report via Lambeth Council’s online hate crime reporting form www.lambeth.gov.uk/hatecrime. Lambeth Council employ a full-time Hate Crime Prevention Coordinator, Mark Healey, who can be contacted via email@example.com
The Lambeth Hate Crime Blog www.lambethhcc.wordpress.com provides further information and advice about how the Council, Police and communities affected by hate crime are working together to make the borough a safer place. #WeStandTogether, #NoPlaceForHate, #SafePlaceForAll