UK: Attorney general asked to review ‘unduly lenient sentence’ for the killing of gay teenager Steven Simpson

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The attorney general has been asked to review a decision of a judge to hand down a three and a half year sentence for the killing of a gay teenager who was burnt to death.

Last week Sheffield Crown Court jailed Jordan Sheard, 20, from Cudworth, for the manslaughter of Steven Simpson.

He died after sustaining “significant burns” last June when Sheard coated the teenager in tanning oil and then set his genitals on fire.

Steven, who lived alone and had Asperger syndrome, epilepsy and a speech impairment, died the next day in hospital from 60% burns.

He spoke to his father about the ordeal before he passed away.

Sheard initially tried to blame Steven for setting himself on fire, but eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Stop Hate UK has now written a letter to the Attorney General Dominic Grieve requesting that the sentence is referred to the Court of Appeal, on the basis that it is unduly lenient.

The charity said: “Our concerns about the sentence imposed upon the defendant stem from the fact that the manslaughter of Steven Simpson does not appear to have been dealt with as a case motivated by hostility in accordance with section 146, Criminal Justice Act 2003.

“In our opinion the facts of the case quite clearly involve proven demonstrated hostility by Jordan Sheard towards Steven Simpson on the basis of both his sexual orientation and disability.

“It appears that, contrary to section 146, these aggravating factors were not taken into account when sentencing Jordan Sheard, nor does it seem to have been stated in open court by His Honour Judge Keen that the offence was committed in such circumstances.”

Stop Hate UK added: “We are of the view that the offence was one of deliberate and gratuitous violence and that the conduct of Jordan Sheard included elements of sadism towards and the humiliation and degradation of Steven Simpson. Significant mitigating factors justifying such a short custodial sentence are glaringly absent.”