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Attitude Pride Awards: Remembering Michael Causer, the gay teenager violently beaten to death ten years ago

The Michael Causer Foundation was set up by Marie and Mike Causer in their son's memory.

2018-07-06

Ten years after the violent killing of their teenage son Michael, Marie and Mike Causer have been honoured with an Attitude Pride Award for setting up The Michael Causer Foundation in his memory.

In the early hours of 25 July 2008, Michael was brutally beaten as he slept at a house party in Liverpool.

Punched, kicked and battered with a hardback book until its spine broke, the 18-year-old trainee hairdresser suffered multiple facial fractures and massive head injuries before being dumped in the street.

He died in hosptial a week later, on 2 August, 2008, following brain surgery.

Three teens, James O’Connor, Gavin Alker and Michael Binsteed, were charged in connection with the killing.

O'Connor pleaded guilty to murder and was given a life sentence, Alker was acquitted of murder and manslaughter, and Binsteed admitted perverting the course of justice and was ordered to serve 34 weeks in a young offenders' institution, with the sentence suspended for two years. 

Although the police investigated the attack as a hate crime, the trial judge ruled that the fatal assault was not fuelled by homophobia.

“When Michael died it was a big thing on the gay scene. They were up in arms,” Michael's mother Marie recalls ten years after her son's death. “We didn’t just want a stone or a plaque.”

After being contacted by scores of gay, lesbian and transgender youngsters who had been thrown out of their homes, she and Mike decided to act to honour Michael's memory and provide housing for vulnerable young LGBT people.

“I thought, ‘Where do they go? What happens to them?’ So we raised the foundation, a safe house, somewhere they can go if they’ve got nowhere else,” Marie explains.

Memories of Michael glitter in his hometown over Liverpool each year during the city's Pride event, which was started in 2010 largely in his honour.

Each year the celebrations take place on the Saturday preceding the anniversary of his death, with Marie and Mike proudly leading the march.

“It just seems to grow bigger," Marie says. "We have the banner with Michael’s photos and t-shirts. We always say if Michael was there, he’d be the belle of the ball at the front.”

Mike and Marie are determined that something positive can bloom from the pain and heartache of losing Michael and, in a direct call to LGBT+ people, she urges them to speak out about the prejudice they experience.

“No matter how trivial you think it is, report it,” Marie says.

Watch Marie and Mike Causer remember Michael ten years on from his death below:

Read more about this year's Attitude Pride Award winners in our new August issue, out July 19.