THE attackers had jumped on Sophie Lancaster's boyfriend Robert Maltby first knocking him unconscious.

He was left in a coma for a week after receiving dozens of injuries including to his brain and was released from hospital on the day his girlfriend died.

The artist still lives in Bacup and sells his work online having recently completed a degree in illustration at the Manchester School of Art ,10 years after first starting it.

Mr Maltby has rarely spoken to the media in the 10 years since the attack but in a recent interview with The Guardian he said he struggled with the ‘goth murder narrative’ and did not view what happened as a hate crime.

He said: “Why can’t we ask what it is about them that made them want to murder someone? Not what it is about someone that made them be murdered.”

He told the paper he is in a long-distance relationship with an American he met online and will be in the US during the anniversary.

The 31-year-old contributed to a recent BBC Three drama which told the story of the attack and its aftermath.

In a interview with the BBC to mark the programme’s release he described how it really hit him when he saw Sophie’s coffin and how small it was.

He said: “That was the catalyst for me not being able to quite cope with it anymore.

“I wanted to be alone and I was. I was alone a lot. I hide myself and barely went outside.

“There was probably a period of a good few months when I did not leave the house.”

He is not involved with the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.

Sophie's mum, Sylvia Lancaster, said: “He has got a new relationship and he needs to get on with his own life.

“He’s had to deal with this for the past 10 years.

“It’s time for him to do what he needs to do.”