BNP memorial to murdered teenager removed by council

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Indy Politics

A plaque erected by the British National Party (BNP) in memory of a white teenager killed by a gang of Bengali men was removed yesterday by the local council.

Oldham Council in Greater Manchester is considering legal action against members of the extremist right-wing group who installed the stone plaque at the scene of the murder of Gavin Hopley, 19. The council removed the plaque after Mr Hopley's parents said they wanted nothing to do with it.

Oldham was the scene in 2001 of some of Britain's worst race riots. About a hundred people were arrested, scores of police were injured and £2m damage was caused. Seven months after the riots, Mr Hopley and two of his friends were beaten up by a gang in Glodwick, Oldham's predominantly Asian neighbourhood.

Mr Hopley, a security guard, suffered bleeding around the brain and died six days later. No one has been convicted of his murder but, in May, five Asian men, aged 18 to 39, from Glodwick, admitted violent disorder and were given jail terms ranging from nine to 15 months.

The BNP plaque said: "In memory of Gavin Hopley murdered on this spot." Tom Flanagan, the council's executive director for environmental services, said: "The family confirmed to the police that they did not want the plaque to remain there, so we have removed it."

Mr Flanagan said the council was considering whether it would pursue those responsible for fitting the plaque into the pavement of a public highway to reclaim the cost of removing it and repairing the damage.

Mick Treacy, the Oldham BNP organiser, said the group had tried to contact Mr Hopley's parents over the plaque but had "received no reply".

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