A South Yorkshire teen who died after being set alight was remembered last night – on what would have been his 19th birthday.
Steven Simpson was doused in tanning oil and set on fire at his 18th birthday party – during which he had been taunted for being homosexual and had homophobic insults scrawled on his face, arm and stomach.
The openly-gay teenager, who had Asperger’s syndrome, epilepsy and a speech impairment, suffered 60 per cent burns to his body and died two days later from the extent of his injuries.
Jordan Sheard, aged 20, of Darfield Road, Cudworth, was jailed for three-and-a-half years in March after admitting manslaughter.
He flicked a lighter close to Steven’s groin, turning him into a fireball, during the party at Steven’s flat on Pleasant View, Cudworth,
Sheffield Crown Court was told that there had been ‘good-natured horseplay’ at the party all night and Sheard had been ‘egged on’ by others present, shouting ‘light it, light it’.
Sheard ran off after watching Steven going up in flames, but returned when emergency services arrived.
Steven’s death caused outrage when details were made public in court.
Sarah Wright, prosecuting, said Steven had been a ‘vulnerable and an easy target’ and had suffered ‘cruel behaviour’ at his party.
Stop Hate UK wrote to the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC, to request the sentence be referred to the Court of Appeal as unduly lenient.
Steven’s mum was holding a memorial event last night to celebrate the teenager’s life, at Monk Bretton Working Men’s Club.
Bernadette, 44, from Carlton, said: “Steven was a lovely, gentle person and wouldn’t want me to be sad. We miss him so much.”