UK: Man jailed for killing gay teenager by setting his genitals on fire at party
A man has been jailed for killing a gay teenager with Asperger syndrome by setting his genitals on fire.
Steven Simpson, 18, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, died after sustaining “significant burns” last June.
Sheffield Crown Court heard that Jordan Sheard, 20, coated Steven Simpson with tanning oil at his 18th birthday and then flicked a lighter at his groin.
The victim instantly went up in flames with Sheard and others running away instead of helping him.
Steven, who lived alone and had Asperger syndrome, epilepsy and a speech impairment, died the next day in hospital from 60% burns.
Sheard, who initially tried to blame Steven for setting himself on fire, eventually admitted manslaughter, and was jailed for three and a half years on Thursday.
The victim was bullied at the party over his disability and the fact he was gay, before being dared to strip to his boxers.
Judge Roger Keen told Sheard: “Egged on by others you sought to put a flame to Steven.
“What it did was engulf him in a fire. You tried to briefly assist and then you ran away. That in my judgment is serious aggravation.”
The Mirror reports at the hospital before he died Steven told his father Kevin that: “A lad took a bottle out of a drawer and chucked it over him.
“The next thing he remembered was going up in flames.”
Steven was openly gay and had moved to the flat where he lived alone because of bullying at his previous address.
Andrew Smith, defending, said: “It was the result of a criminally stupid prank that went wrong in a bad way.”
Sheard, of Cudworth, near Barnsley, initially tried to blame Steven for setting himself on fire.
He was jailed for three-and-a-half years after he admitted manslaughter
On Friday, Labour MP Diane Abbott criticised the sentence on Twitter as being “shockingly low”.
Detective Chief Inspector Sean Middleton said: “Steven was described by all who know him as a very caring and likeable young man, whose family will miss him greatly.
“His generous spirit was taken advantage of and a single thoughtless act resulted in his death.”