Family of Gary Skelly campaign to change hate crime law

The family of a disabled man who died after being punched in Liverpool are calling for a change in the law.

Gary Skelly, 53, died after being punched once in Scargreen Avenue, Norris Green, on 14 September 2010.

His family want violent incidents against people who, like Mr Skelly, have learning difficulties, to be recorded as hate crimes.

They are travelling to London from Liverpool to meet Paul Maynard, Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP.

They hope the Conservative MP, who is a leading campaigner on hate crime issues, will be able to help their campaign.

'Shame on society'

Mr Skelly was attacked after he asked for a cigarette.

James Lee, of no fixed address, was found guilty of his manslaughter and was jailed for seven years in March.

Mr Skelly's mother, Agnes Skelly, told BBC Inside Out that he had been tormented by youths near his home for years before he was attacked.

She said: "They used to make him dance. I knew there were a few lads that mocked him but he never complained.

"I always did worry about him and what happened was my worst nightmare."

Mr Skelly had attended classes with Liverpool charity Moving on with Life and Learning (MOWLL), which works to create opportunities for disabled people.

The group has launched a campaign called FACE Facts, which aims to raise awareness of violence and intimidation against people with disabilities.

A representative from the charity will join Mrs Skelly and Mr Skelly's two sisters and niece on their journey to London on Monday.

Heidi Kenworthy, from MOWLL, said: "Nine out of 10 people with learning difficulties experience bullying.

"That's an absolute shame on civil society and we've got to do something about it.

"We're not going to let Gary's death be in vain and we're going to carry on until we get a change in the law."

The group will show Mr Maynard a film they have made about Gary and what happened to him.

Inside Out North West is broadcast on Monday 21 November at 19:30 GMT and can be seen on the BBC iPlayer nationwide for seven days afterwards.

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