Swine flu delays sentencing of fire attack pair

The sentencing of two men who set a man alight as he slept on a train was adjourned today as one of them is suffering from swine flu.

Aedan Palmer, 19, of Tower Road, Lancing, West Sussex, was unable to attend Chichester Crown Court due to the illness.

His co-defendant Dean Hardy, 20, who did appear, was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm on Luke Kennedy, 22, after he was set alight as he travelled home on the 6.50pm Brighton to Littlehampton service in Sussex on December 7 last year.

Palmer had already pleaded guilty, but they were both cleared of the more serious charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm within intent following a trial at the court last month.

Mr Kennedy suffered severe burns to his lips, ears and cheeks while his nasal hair, eyebrows and eyelashes were singed off in the attack.

Following their conviction, Judge Claudia Ackner warned them that custodial sentences were a possibility but she said she had no reason not to believe Palmer was ill as he had appeared at the court for sentencing last week without realising it had been adjourned.

Hardy, of Grace Road, Crawley, was told to appear for sentencing on December 16 along with Palmer.

Both men are on bail.