Schoolboy torturer detained for five years

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A SCHOOLBOY who led a younger boy in the four-day torture of a mentally handicapped man was sent to a young offender's institution for five years, at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.

The two boys, then aged 14 and 12, held their 32-year-old victim, who has a mental age of 11, prisoner in his home. They made him eat excreta off a fork, drink urine, burned him all over his body with cigarettes and molten plastic and headbutted him. Peter Bowers, for the prosecution, told the court: 'He screamed for help but nobody heard.'

Some of the torture sessions last May at the man's flat in Hemlington, near Middlesbrough, lasted two hours. When the man, who wears a colostomy bag, protested, he was kicked and punched by Paul Graham, a skinhead, his main torturer.

He threatened to spread rumours about the man if he went to the police, Mr Bowers said. Graham and the other boy moved their sleeping bags into his home and slept there for three nights.

The man was rescued when his brother called at the flat. Graham admitted stubbing out cigarettes on him and burning him with molten plastic from a bucket 'for a laugh', Mr Bowers said.

Ken Gillance, for the defence, said the visits began innocently, but then they burned him with the bucket. 'This mischief escalated following the reaction of the victim to the pain and it seemed to inflame the boys.' He said that Graham had shown remorse and there was no reason to think that it was not a one-off incident.

Judge Helen Paling said: 'I have to take into account that you are only 15-and-a-half. If it had been a grown man it would have been a very long sentence.'

Graham, of Stainton, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to sample charges of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The 12-year-old was given a three-year supervision order with medical treatment and ordered to pay pounds 100 compensation to the man when he admitted similar charges at a Teesside juvenile court on 9 September last year.