Sheffield burns victim forgives pal for prank

Long John's Showbar, Great Yarmouth
Long John's Showbar, Great Yarmouth
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A man from Sheffield who set fire to a pal when a prank went badly wrong has said he hopes other people can learn from his experience – while his friend has forgiven him for the disastrous joke.

Robert Marshall, aged 24, and his victim Sam Taylor, both from Oughtibridge, were sprayed with Brut aftershave by friends to ruin their chances of picking up women at a nightclub during a lads’ weekend away in Norfolk.

Marshall then playfully flicked a flame from a lighter, causing the alcohol aftershave to ignite and turn his close friend into a human fireball at Long John’s Showbar on Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth.

Mr Taylor dropped to the floor as friends, other customers and door staff smothered the flames with their hands, clothes and wet towels.

He was left with serious burns covering seven per cent of his body including his face, chest, back and arms.

Mr Taylor later wrote to the Crown Prosecution Service asking that Marshall should not be punished as it was an accident.

But the CPS ruled he should be charged with assault occasioning GBH.

Marshall admitted the count, but was shown mercy by magistrates in Great Yarmouth, who fined him £710 with a £71 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

Mr Taylor even sat at the back of the court to support his friend during the court hearing.

Chairman of the bench Terence Gilbert said the incident in April was ‘stupid’, but added it was clear it was not a ‘deliberate attack’.

Mr Taylor’s father Robert, 67, said: “It has been a very traumatic time for us, but he has been very positive.

“I have used aftershave all my life and I never realised it was flammable.”

Marshall said following the sentencing: “If other people can learn from this that’s the main thing.

“Just be careful when you go out.”

Three other friends of Mr Taylor were also arrested after the incident, but the men were not charged.