A CHARITY that supports hate crime victims has written to the Attorney General urging an appeal over the ‘unduly lenient’ jail term handed to South Yorkshire killer Jordan Sheard.
Sheard, aged 20, scrawled gay taunts over 18-year-old Steven Simpson’s face and arms before setting alight flammable tanning lotion doused over his body. Steven died from 60 per cent burns.
Sheard had spent the evening taunting openly-gay Steven – who also had Asperger’s Syndrome, epilepsy and a speech impairment – over his sexuality, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
Sheard, of Cudworth, Barnsley, admitted manslaughter on the basis the taunting was ‘good natured horseplay’ and he was ‘egged on’ to spark the lighter which ignited the blaze.
He was jailed by Judge Roger Keen QC for three-and-a-half-years – prompting Stop Hate UK to write an open letter to Dominic Grieve QC, asking for the case to be referred to the Court of Appeal.
“It is our view the sentence was unduly lenient,” the letter says.
“The manslaughter of Steven Simpson does not appear to have been dealt with as a case motivated by hostility.
“In our opinion the facts quite clearly involve proven hostility by Sheard towards Steven, on the basis of both his sexual orientation and disability.
“It appears these aggravating factors were not taken into account.
“We are of the view the offence was one of deliberate and gratuitous violence, and the conduct of Sheard included elements of sadism, humiliation and degradation.
“Three years and six months does not reflect the true gravity of the offence.”
The court heard there had been ‘horseplay’ and banter all evening – but that Steven seemed to have been enjoying the night.”