WESHAM, UK – Terrorizing vulnerable people is a pastime of bullies everywhere, apparently, as evidenced by a shocking case out of the U.K. Thankfully, the young man, who is autistic, is seeing justice served as the four mechanics who set him on fire have been jailed.
The attack at a garage in Wesham, Lancashire, North West England, occurred on June 1, 2021, when the unidentified young man was working as an apprentice.
Three men who set fire to an autistic teenager using a blow torch in a "horrendous attack" have been jailed. https://t.co/x0WIk9yRfo
— BBC North West (@BBCNWT) May 17, 2022
Detective Constable Jordan McDonald, of Blackpool CID, said:
“This was a horrendous attack which left the victim, a young man with autism, seriously injured.”
According to police, he was chased into the garage by the men with a blowtorch, ignited by an accelerant, aimed at his legs.
The attack left him with burns to his upper thighs. He later went to a clinic, where he told healthcare workers what had happened to him. Police were alerted and an investigation was launched. The probe revealed he had been the victim of a campaign of abuse and bullying that escalated to the attack in which he was burned.
Surveillance footage seized from the garage showed three of the attackers chasing the victim around the unit. A fourth man leaned against a door to prevent the teenager from escaping the attack.
The offenders eventually stopped and could be seen laughing, according to police.
Earlier this month, the four men pleaded guilty and were sentenced at Preston Crown Court. They are:
Adam Lavelle, 34, of Walter Avenue, St Annes, who was given 18 months in prison for S20 wounding.
Michael Jeffrey, 31, of Seafield Road, Blackpool, who was given 14 months in prison for S20 wounding.
Soldon Legdani, 23, of Moss House Road, Blackpool, who was given 10 months in prison for S20 wounding.
Simon Hickinbottom, 45 of Knowles Road, St Annes, who was given 21 weeks in prison for common assault and providing a false statement.
McDonald said of the four:
“The men preyed upon his vulnerabilities, carrying out escalating threats which ultimately resulted in the victim being chased inside the locked garage, cornered by the offenders and set on fire, causing burns to his upper thighs.
“The bullying and abuse was revealed once the victim went for medical treatment, with the police then launching an investigation.
“While workplace bullying is unfortunately commonplace, the actions of these men went far beyond this. I am glad each of the men have received custodial sentences and can use their time to reflect on the gravity of their actions and the lasting impact it’s had on the victim.”
‘Please don’t take me back there:’ Connecticut boy, 6, begs for new home after bullies light him on fire
April 27, 2022
BRIDGEPORT, CT – Childhood battles with peers are a part of growing up but bullying is dangerous, demoralizing and potentially deadly.
A small child whose family says has been bullied by neighbors is now in the burn unit in a Connecticut hospital, the victim of a horrifying incident of bullying.
The six-year-old boy, identified only as Dominick, was taken to the hospital after being burned this weekend in Bridgeport, officials said.
First responders were called to a property on Louisiana Avenue on Sunday afternoon for the report of a child with burn injuries, who was then transported to the burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital, according to WFSB.
A city of Bridgeport spokesperson said:
“Preliminary reports indicate that up to four unattended children were seen playing with gasoline and lighting objects on fire.”
The incident remains under investigation.
A GoFundMe was started to help Dominick. Click here to donate. The fundraiser’s organizers described the incident as a case of bullying. Kayla Deegan and Toni Gauger wrote:
“My little brother Dom has been bullied for a while by the tenants downstairs. It escalated to a deadly intent. Dominick, MY 6 YEAR OLD BROTHER could’ve died.
The kid covered a ball in gasoline, lit it on fire, and threw it at him. All in the matter of SECONDS. Dom has second and third degree burns on his face and leg. He’s going to be scarred for life mentally and physically.
“We are looking for help for a new home because it is not safe here. This kid downstairs has gotten away with too much and has a history of bullying.
The mother thinks he is innocent. The family thinks it’s a joke. Even though Dominick can’t talk because he’s in a lot of pain and all swollen, he said to my mom, “Please don’t take me back there.” Anything helps, even a share.
Thank you all for the support. I’m sure Dominick appreciates it. This is extremely unfair and shouldn’t ever happen to ANY CHILD!!! We need justice for our little Dominick. “justicefordominick #staystrongdom #prayersfordom”
The GoFundMe effort is aimed at covering hospital bills and finding a new home for the family, its organizers said.
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