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Pansy planted in tribute for murdered gay teenager Michael Causer

PinkNews Staff Writer April 22, 2009

Artist Paul Harfleet has planted a flower in tribute of murdered Liverpool gay teenager Michael Causer.
Eighteen-year-old Michael, who worked as a hairdresser in Liverpool, was attacked at the Huyton home of his friend Michael Binsteed’s grandmother.

After a 999 call he was found by paramedics in the street on Friday 25th July.

Despite surgery to try to reduce swelling on his brain, he died at 2:30pm on Saturday 2nd August.
The artist was accompanied to Tarbock Road in Huyton by Causers parents to plant a pansy as part of his ‘Pansy Project’.

He told the Liverpool Echo “Years ago I experienced three incidents of homophobia. I knew that other people in the gay community suffered the same things and I felt I wanted to represent that pain in some way.

“I looked at how locations can be changed by flower memorials and decided to plant a pansy at every place where I had suffered abuse.”

He has given Causer’s parents an identical plant for their garden.

Just over a week ago Causer’s family told that with the Crown Prosecution service, they will attempt to appeal against the sentences given to his killer and another defendant who admitted lying to police.

The Crown Prosecution Service is to ask the Attorney General for leave to appeal over the sentences.
James O’Connor was sentenced to a minimum of 11 years in prison for Causer’s murder, while Michael Binsteed was given a suspended sentence and community service for perverting the cause of justice.

Speaking to, Causer’s mother Marie Causer confirmed the family were appealing against the sentences given to O’Connor and Binsteed.

She said: “We have been told we cannot get a higher sentence for O’Connor. But we can take a private prosecution against Binsteed.

“The police have been wonderful, we can’t blame them. We blame the CPS, the judge and the jury.”
Mrs Causer added that she was “appalled” at the sentence given to Binsteed.

“That wasn’t O’Connor or Binsteed on trial, it was Michael,” she said.

“They tried to make him look like a thug. It was said he was six feet one. But I ordered a coffin no longer than five feet six.

“They said he’d smashed up a phone box but there was no record of it.

“The judge talked about how O’Connor had a college place, how he was a well-brought-up boy, but there was none of that for Michael.”

James O’Connor admitted murdering Causer and was sentenced last month.

Michael Binsteed, who called the ambulance but said Michael had been attacked by three random men,
pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and was given 34 weeks in custody, suspended for two years.

He was also given a supervision order and must complete 200 hours of unpaid work within a year.
Gavin Alker was cleared of murder, despite testifying he had acted in self-defence and was unaware Mr Causer was gay.

In court, Mr Justice King said O’Connor had not acted out of homophobic motives, instead describing him as “ignoble” and “cowardly”.

However, he added that O’Connor had not been solely responsible for the crime,
The Causer family, who met Lord Faulkner last week to discuss their options, have vowed to continue their efforts.

“We’re just trying to be as normal as we can be, staying strong,” said Mrs Causer.

“We’re never going to stop fighting for justice for Michael. Each day I get up to fight another day.”

More: England

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