A Yorkshire man found guilty of setting fire to a gay teen on his 18th birthday—resulting in the boy’s death—will only serve 21 months in prison, reports the Sun.
Steven Simpson, who had been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and epilepsy, was celebrating his 18th birthday party last June when Jordan Sheard, 20, arrived with some mates and began teasing Simpson.
Sheard stripped Simpson to his underwear and wrote homophobic slurs on his body, which was then covered in suntan lotion.
The bully then held a lighter to Simpson’s groin, causing the disabled teen to catch fire. By the time a neighbor was able to put the flames out, Simpson had burns on 60% of his body. (A paramedic reported seeing lipstick all over Steven’s face—with the words “gay boy” on his head. )
He died the following day.
Sheard, meanwhile, fled the party as soon as Simpson caught fire—and initially tried to tell police the victim set fire to himself.
He finally admitted he started the blaze but said it was just horseplay gone wrong. Judge Roger Keen accepted Sheard’s guilty manslaughter plea and sentenced him to 3 1/2 years. But Sheard will be released on parole after just 21 months.
“Any objective observer, given the fluid that had been poured all over him, would have considered that was a dangerous act,” said Keen at sentencing.
A dangerous act? Drinking while pregnant is a dangerous act. This was the dictionary definition of a hate crime, and the judge let him off far too easy. We can only imagine the pain Simpson’s family is feeling at being so cruelly devastated—twice.