Video: Man sentenced over Leicester gay pub fire attack

April 15, 2013
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A man has been sentenced for an attack at a Leicester gay pub which left two men with serious burns.

Russell Banks, 22, and Robert Laszewsk, 21, were in the beer garden of the Rainbow and Dove pub when they were doused with flammable liquid and set on fire in October 2011 by Mitchell Dean.

Dean, 22, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to two counts of grievous bodily harm with intent at a hearing in August 2012 at Basildon Crown Court in Essex.

He was given a hospital order to remain in a mental health unit indefinitely on Monday.

The two victims received extensive injuries.

Russell Banks is still undergoing treatment for burns injuries to his face, arms and hands.

Detective Inspector Simon Preston of Leicestershire Police’s serious crime team, led the investigation, he said: “This has truly been one of the most horrific cases I have dealt with during my career.

“Dean had no regard for the consequences of his actions and we’re pleased that he has pleaded guilty and saved the victims the ordeal of having to re-live the events of October 2011.

“Russell and Robert have been extremely brave throughout the investigation and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their co-operation during what was a very difficult time for them and I hope the verdict and sentence helps them move on with their lives.”

Leicestershire Police’s hate crime officer, Darren Goddard, said: “Whilst there is no evidence to suggest that this was a homophobic hate crime, the impact that this incident has had on the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people was immense, hopefully this conviction will help to reassure people that Leicestershire Police do take all crime seriously and will hold people to account for their behaviour.”

Robert Laszewski, who received serious injuries to his arms during the incident, spoke after the verdict, he said: “I would like to thank Leicestershire Police and everyone who worked on my case for all your hard work. I’d like to thank the surgeons and staff at the Queen’s Medical Centre burn’s unit for making me and Russ beautiful again.”

More: Basildon, Basildon Crown Court, Crime, England, gay bar, gay community, gay pub, gay venue, leicester, Leicestershire, Leicestershire Police, lgbt community, LGBT venue, pub, Robert Laszewsk, Russell Banks, serious crime, violent incident

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