SHEFFIELD 2012: The Steel City through the year...

Friends and suppoirters of Bradley Hinkler protesting outside Sheffield Crown Courrt
Friends and suppoirters of Bradley Hinkler protesting outside Sheffield Crown Courrt
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Reporter Erin Cardiff looks back on the issues and incidents that made it on to our pages in Sheffield last summer.

A BRILLIANT Tramlines music festival, a sneak preview of the new-look Moor shopping area and the city that refused to riot... reporter Erin Cardiff looks back on the issues and incidents that made it on to our pages in Sheffield last summer

11.08.11, Page 2

Sheffield upheld its proud reputation as the Steel City, not ‘steal city’ as we were praised for our peaceful response to rioting wreaking havoc across the rest of Britain.

While yobs in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham robbed, burned and looted through August, families in the city centre safely enjoyed traditional fun and fairground attractions as the sun shone on the Sheffield by the Sea event in the Peace Gardens, which ran throughout the month.

South Yorkshire Police assistant chief constable Andy Holt said: “The people of South Yorkshire have been fantastic.”

And Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore said the city’s peaceable response came about due to its ‘unique identity and sense of community spirit’ of which residents are rightly proud.

On social networking sites, condemned for being used to promote dissent elsewhere, Sheffield folk spoke of their respect for the city.

“Sheffield is too smart to riot and destroy its own communities,” said one poster. Others wrote: “Proud to be from Sheffield - one of the largest cities that has not seen violent riots”, and: “Sheffield is now the largest riot-free city in the country. So proud – stay strong, people, and keep our city beautiful.”

The only specific riot response in Sheffield was extra high visibility patrols and additional flights by the force helicopter - ordered by police chiefs both as a deterrent and a reassurance.

Officers spent days monitoring social networking sites to look for messages inciting violence, but did not need to make any arrests.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Holt said: “There has been no serious disorder here.

“Parents are taking responsibility for their children in South Yorkshire, which is heartening to see.”

25.07.11, Page 3

Forget Glastonbury – Tramlines was the high point of this year’s festival season, with thousands flocking to Sheffield’s biggest (and absolutely free) party.

Three days of amazing free music and glorious July sunshine are set to go down in history.

‘Tramlines 2011’, people will say in years to come, ‘were you there?’

It seemed most people were; the Peace Gardens were carpeted with bodies as thousands soaked up the sun and the world music.

Division Street was taken over by happy people, with just one or two alarmed-looking motorists wishing they had looked up from their sat nav.

Barkers Pool was swarming with revellers and Devonshire Green was buzzing with excitement – and then packed – as Pixie Lott and Olly Murs drew thousands of youngsters to the main stage on the afternoon of Saturday, July 23.

Such was the excitement, some started queuing at 6am on Saturday morning –200 had arrived by 7.30am according to security – ahead of the gates opening at midday.

The main stage was set on fire a second time when nineties indie heroes Ash headlined after The Futureheads in the evening on Sunday 28 July.

For many though, Tramlines was about mooching along and dropping in on venues dotted about the city, from Endcliffe Park to the Fat Cat pub at Kelham Island.

Dave Healy, festival director, said: “Musically this has been our biggest and most diverse bill ever and I’m delighted with the way it’s turned out.

“Tramlines is first and foremost about putting on an amazing show. But it’s about more than that, it’s about putting an entire city in a ridiculously good mood.”

26.08.11, Page 3

There was outcry at Sheffield Crown Court this August when amateur boxer Bradley Hinkler was handed a 16 year sentence for the murder of dad-of-two Thomas Gower – sparking a series of protests by his friends and family.

Hinkler killed Mr Gower with a single punch outside a Sheffield bar earlier this year.

The attack – which robbed two little boys of their father – was branded ‘cowardly’ by the judge who locked him up.

Judge Simon Lawler QC said the 20-year-old, from Kilvington Road, Woodthorpe, had been in a ‘violent, aggressive and ugly mood’ when he chased Thomas down the street and used skills learned in the gym to land a punch from behind.

The blow broke the young dad’s jaw and caused him to smash his head on the ground.

Judge Lawler told Sheffield Crown Court it was ‘callous beyond belief’ that, despite knowing Thomas was seriously injured, Hinkler returned to another man he had knocked out moments earlier, kicking him as he lay collapsed.

He said CCTV footage revealed Hinkler had thrown another punch inside the Alibi bar on Trippet Lane before trouble spilled onto the street.

Hinkler used his boxing skills to fell his first victim with a ‘powerful blow to the head’ before turning his attention to Thomas, from Gleadless.

Judge Lawler told Hinkler: “Knowing what you were capable of, if you did not know before, you pursued a very frightened Thomas Gower.

“He had shown you no violence whatsoever. Self-defence did not arise at all - you struck him from behind with a single and powerful blow to the side of the head. Some witnesses say he did not even see the blow coming and had no chance.

“It was a quite unnecessary and cowardly attack on a defenceless man.”

Commenting on a campaign launched by Hinkler’s family and friends, arguing the boxer should have been charged with ‘one punch manslaughter’ rather than murder, the judge said: “This is very different to the ‘one punch’ scenario. In those cases there is no intention harm.”

Det Supt Andy Thompson, who led the murder investigation, said: “This was not one punch. He punched once inside the bar, which is captured on CCTV, and immediately before he struck Thomas, just a few seconds earlier, he knocked somebody else unconscious too.

“If you know you can knock someone out there is a significant likelihood you are going to cause serious injury.”

He said the boxer had shown ‘gratuitous violence’, and his lengthy prison sentence should serve as a warning.

Hinkler was ordered to serve a minimum of 16 years behind bars for murder and another six years, to run at the same time, for grievous bodily harm with intent relating to the earlier attack.

16.07.11, Page 1&2

In July, The Star showed it’s readers the swish new vision of one of Sheffield’s busiest shopping streets – The Moor.

Renovation plans could become a reality in just two years’ time – with £15 million ready to be invested.

Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, which owns the lease of The Moor, submitted plans to replace the former McDonald’s restaurant at the top of the street opposite Debenhams.

It plans to build a ‘landmark’ 55,000 sq ft new glass-fronted store which will also feature a digital screen.

If granted permission by Sheffield City Council, construction is set to begin immediately, alongside development of the new market and shops further down the street, which already has planning permission.

At the same time, the top of the street will be re-paved to the same standard as the Peace Gardens.

This will also complement work already carried out on the lower section, outside where the market will be built.

Scottish Widows said the £15 million figure would cover the cost of the new building on the McDonald’s site, plus revamping the street scene.

The company said funding is ready, meaning it can progress straight away and will be ready two years before the Sevenstone city centre development.

Ranald Phillips, director at Centenary Ashcroft, agents for Scottish Widows, said: “Sheffield deserves a better city centre shopping environment.

“The new vision for The Moor means regeneration from top to bottom.

“It will come with a rolling programme of providing modern retail space, a clean and attractive public realm and, of course, the new market building.

“This is a high quality retail scheme for the city.

“It will provide the people of South Yorkshire with much improved and needed facilities.

“The new designs for the top of The Moor show our intent on creating something that Sheffield can be proud of.”

Scottish Widows said work is due to start on site next year.

By late summer 2013 the new markets as well as the nine new shops and the entire outdoor spine of The Moor will be complete.