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At the beginning of the trial on 10 March 2008, all the accused admitted being guilty on the charge of grievous bodily harm with intent, Ryan Herbert pleaded guilty to murder, Brendan Harris pleaded not guilty to murder, while the murder charges against the other three were withdrawn.As the trial opened the prosecution told the hearing: "Sophie and Robert were singled out not for anything they had said or done, but because they looked and dressed differently".
"The thing that makes me most angry is that it is seen as an isolated incident, maybe the seriousness of what happened to Sophie is isolated, but attacks are far from isolated.
Lancaster, in a deep coma, was placed on life support and moved to Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, then to the neurology unit at Hope Hospital (now Salford Royal Hospital) in Salford.
The hospital staff determined that she would never regain consciousness, and on 24 August 2007 her life support was terminated.
Five teenage boys were later arrested and charged with murder.
Two of them were convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
By 5 October 2007, after questioning over 100 people, the police concluded that they were not expecting to make any more arrests in the case, and although 15–20 people were in the park at some point during the night of the attack, they believed that many were not directly involved, as the area was a regular night time hangout spot for teenagers.