Murder victim Michael Causer
The family of a gay teenager who was killed in the UK in July last year have expressed their anger over the outcome of his murder trial.
Twenty year old James O’Connor was today sentenced to life imprisonment for killing 18 year old Michael Causer while he lay sleeping at a friend’s grandmother’s house in Liverpool after a drunken party.
The unconscious trainee hairdresser was then dumped on the street and died eight days later in hospital from severe brain damage.
Despite the life sentence, O’Connor could be eligible for parole after only 11 and a half years in jail.
Most controversially, the judge ruled that the brutal murder was not motivated by homophobia; a statement which has not only angered Causer’s friends and family but also has legal implications: If the murder was declared a hate crime, O’Connor’s sentence would have been more severe.
Speaking to reporters outside the court, Causer’s parents said: “This is another black day for Michael. It’s just pathetic.”
O’Connor admitted to beating Causer to death. Another two men were accused in the crime: Gavin Alker (19) was acquitted last month, while Michael Binsteed (19), received a suspended sentence for pleading guilty to perverting the cause of justice.
Binsteed, who testified for the prosecution, said that Alker had shouted out homophobic slurs while Causer was being beaten.
According to prosecutors’ claims, the attack on Causer was sparked off when the other men found naked pictures of him on his cell phone. This allegedly led to a “sustained and brutal” homophobic attack.