Boy aged 12 'set friend alight with petrol bomb'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A boy was turned into a human torch after being soaked in petrol and set alight as he and a group of friends played in the woods with home-made Molotov cocktails, a court was told yesterday.

A boy was turned into a human torch after being soaked in petrol and set alight as he and a group of friends played in the woods with home-made Molotov cocktails, a court was told yesterday.

Alfred Page's 12-year-oldattacker could be heard "laughing" and saying "Have some of that!" as he set his victim alight before running off, it was alleged.

The schoolboy accused of carrying out the attack, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denied causing grievous bodily harm with intent on 3 May this year.

Robin Johnson, for the prosecution, said Alfred, who is 11, had gone to the woods near Gillingham, Kent, with his attacker and two boys, aged 12 and nine. He said: "They took home-made petrol bombs which were mostly milk bottles filled with petrol and rags around their tops, sometimes described as Molotov cocktails, although not by the boys."

Mr Johnson told the jury that according to the other boys the defendant was the "instigator... but the others boys joined in perfectly willingly". He said the bombs were made in a garage at the defendant's home.

After exploding some of the incendiaries, the youngsters met up with a fifth boy and then went to the garage to make further bombs.

The boy alleged that the defendant said "Ha, ha, ha, have some of that!" just moments before Alfred - who was known to his friends as Podge - was set alight.

The jury saw a police video-interview, taped the day after the incident, with a 12-year-old member of the group who attempted to put out the flames. The boy, wearing plastic bags on his hands because of the injuries he suffered, said he recalled the defendant setting Alfred alight by throwing a cola bottle at him and lighting the fuel with a lighter.

The boy said: "[Alfred] was in flames and started running at me. I did not know what to do. He was just standing there, burning.

"I was picking off the remains of his clothes poppersbecause they were burning him. Then I could hear [the defendant] running and laughing. I tried to carry him [Alfred] but I could not because I just felt sick by looking at him. He was naked.

"Podge said 'I cannot move.' I tried picking him up but I was sort of dropping him. Podge said 'I feel all stiff and my skin is cracking up'.

"He started to walk and he started crying. The bits of his jumper were just falling on the floor, he was dripping. I was being sick all over the place."

A hospital consultant who assessed Alfred said he had suffered 70 per cent burns "from his chin, neck, around his groin and leg and as low as his knees".

The boy underwent surgery the next day and has undergone a series of skin grafts and operations on abdominal injuries caused by burns.

Alfred's alleged attacker, who sat alongside his mother in court, told police after his arrest that it was an accident.

Mr Johnson said the defendant had claimed that "as Podgy was climbing the fence he cut his trousers and asked the defendant to burn it off".

The case continues.

Comments