A partygoer who killed a disabled teenager by setting him on fire during his 18th birthday party faces an anxious wait to hear whether he was given an ‘unduly lenient’ jail sentence.
Autistic teenager, Steven Simpson, aged 18, from Barnsley, who was gay, died last June after sustaining ‘significant burns’ when a flame was put to his body which was soaked in tanning oil.
Jordan Sheard, 20, of Darfield Road, Cudworth, Barnsley, was given a three-and-a-half-year term at Sheffield Crown Court in March, after admitting manslaughter.
But after a campaign by anti-discrimination pressure groups, the sentence was re-examined by the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC, who judged it not tough enough and referred it to the Criminal Appeal Court for judges to look at again.
Judges Lady Justice Rafferty, Mr Justice Keith and Judge James Goss QC listened to the case yesterday and will deliver their decision so they can consider the ‘complexities of the issues’.
The court heard Steven was bullied at his birthday celebration and egged on to strip off while tanning oil was poured over him by other people at the party who scrawled obscenities on him.
Prosecutors claimed Steven, who had Asperger’s Syndrome and learning difficulties, was targeted due to his disability and sexuality.
Andrew Smith, Sheard’s barrister, said in his defence there was no evidence he knew Steven was vulnerable as there were no obvious outward signs of his autism.