The family of murdered gay barman Jody Dobrowski have called the killing of their son an “act of terrorism.”
Thomas Pickford, 25, and Scott Walker, 33, both of no fixed address were sentenced to life in prison today after earlier admitted killing Mr Dobrowski in October 2005.
A joint statement said: “In a free and democratic society, Jody’s murder was an outrage. It was a political act. It was an act of terrorism. Jody was not the first man to be killed, or terrorised, or beaten or humiliated for being homosexual, or for being perceived to be homosexual.
“Tragically, he will not be the last man to suffer the consequences of homophobia which is endemic in this society. This is unacceptable. We cannot accept this. No intelligent, healthy or reasonable society could.
“But this is not just a tale to be told by two homophobic idiots – ‘Full of sound and fury signifying nothing’
“This is also a tale of unsung heroes, whom we would like to acknowledge and applaud. We send love and gratitude to the witnesses for their courage in speaking out and enabling the police to track and arrest Jody’s murderers and for allowing Jody the dignity of dying in caring hands.
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“The paramedics and staff of St Georges Hospital, Tooting for their caring hands and compassion on the front line, Detective Chief Inspector Scola, our liaison officer DC Chesmur, and all the officers of Murder Investigation Team 7, Sutton – who despite their success, professionalism and integrity have, sadly, been disbanded, Judge Barker, Prosecution Counsel Mr Hilliard and Mr Aylett, CPS Prosecutor Mr Goddard, and the defence team for ensuring justice was served and for protecting future victims, Victim Support, for their charity.
“Ours and Jody’s family, friends and work colleagues for helping us to carry our grief.
“The hundreds of young people who knew and loved Jody, for their strength in suppressing their rage and for continuing to create a diverse, dynamic and imaginative society in which we all can thrive.
“And we would like to pay tribute to Jody Dobrowski for his strength in the face of cowardice. For struggling to become who he was – an intelligent, funny, hardworking and beautiful man, whose life was brutally and mercilessly punched and kicked from him. Who fought for some hours to stay with us. And whose big dancing feet left behind such gentle footprints on this earth.”
Mr Dobrowski, 24, assistant manager at Bar Risa Jongleurs, in Camden, was found unconscious in south London last year and died in hospital with head, neck and facial injuries.
The former Biology student’s injuries made him so unrecognisable that he had to be identified by his fingerprints.
Unemployed Pickford had initially admitted being involved in the attack and alleged Walker had stuffed a sock and shoe into the victim’s mouth.
Walker, a decorator, refused to answer police questions at first, but forensic tests on blood found on Mr Dubrowski’s shoes confirmed the attack.
Witnesses claimed to have heard the men shouting homophobic insults as the assault took place.