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Mechanics chased autistic apprentice, locked him in a garage and set him on fire with a blow torch

They were caught on CCTV laughing after torturing the teenage victim

Mechanics who chased an autistic apprentice, locked him in a garage and set him on fire with a blow torch have been jailed.

They were caught on CCTV laughing after torturing the unnamed teenage victim, who suffered burns to his thighs in the sickening assault last June.

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Three of the men aimed the blow torch at the victim while a fourth stopped him from getting away.

Lancashire Police said the victim was working as an apprentice at a garage in Wesham, near Blackpool.

Michael Jeffrey, (top left), Simon Hickinbottom, (top right), Soldon Legdani, (bottom left) Adam Lavelle, (bottom right) have been sentenced for their roles in an attack on a autistic apprentice.

During a shift, he was chased into the garage by the men, who ignited by a blow torch and aimed it at his legs with an accelerant.

Security footage showed three of the men chasing the vulnerable victim around the unit, aiming the blow torch and accelerant towards him.

A fourth man leant against a door to prevent the victim escaping the attack.

Victim was left in pain after attack

The offenders eventually stopped and could be seen laughing, having left the victim in pain, police said.

The victim suffered burns to his upper thighs and later attended a health centre where he told health workers what happened, with the matter reported to police.

An investigation was launched with the victim revealing he had suffered increasing abuse and bullying.

Adam Lavelle, 34, Michael Jeffrey, 31, Soldon Legdani, 23, and Simon Hickinbottom, 45, have been jailed for their role at Preston Crown Court.

Lavelle, of St Annes, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, Jeffrey, of Blackpool, was jailed for 14 months and Legdani, Blackpool, for 10 months for section 20 wounding.

Hickinbottom, of St Annes, was given 21 weeks in prison for common assault and providing a false statement.

‘The men preyed upon his vulnerabilities’

Detective Constable Jordan McDonald, of Lancashire Police said: “This was a horrendous attack which left the victim, a young man with autism, seriously injured.

“The men preyed upon his vulnerabilities, carrying out escalating threats which ultimately resulted in the victim being chased inside the locked garage, cornered by the offenders and set on fire, causing burns to his upper thighs.

“The bullying and abuse was revealed once the victim went for medical treatment, with the police then launching an investigation.

“While workplace bullying is unfortunately commonplace, the actions of these men went far beyond this.

“I am glad each of the men have received custodial sentences and can use their time to reflect on the gravity of their actions and the lasting impact it’s had on the victim.”