Mechanic jailed for blowtorch attack on autistic teen

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

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

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Three of the men aimed the blowtorch at the victim while a fourth prevented him from escaping.

Michael Jeffrey (top left), Simon Hickinbottom (top right), Soldon Legdani (bottom left) Adam Lavelle (bottom right) were convicted for their role in an attack on an autistic apprentice.

During one shift, he was chased into the garage by the men, who ignited it with a blowtorch and fire accelerant aimed at his legs.

Security footage showed three of the men chasing the vulnerable victim around the unit, aiming the blowtorch and accelerator at him.

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

The victim was in pain after the attack

The perpetrators eventually stopped and could be seen laughing after leaving the victim in pain, police said.

The victim suffered burns to her thighs and later went to a health center, where he told health care workers what had happened and reported the matter to the police.

An investigation was launched, with the victim revealing that she was subjected to 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 to 14 months and Legdani of Blackpool to 10 months for Section 20 assault.

Hickinbottom, from St Annes, was sentenced to 21 weeks in prison for assault and false testimony.

“The men took advantage of his weaknesses”

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

“The men exploited his vulnerabilities and carried out escalating threats that ultimately resulted in the victim being chased into the locked garage, cornered by the perpetrators and set on fire, resulting in burns to his thighs.

“The bullying and abuse was exposed when the victim went for medical treatment and the police then launched an investigation.

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

“I’m glad each of the men has been sentenced to prison terms and can use their time to reflect on the seriousness of their actions and the lasting impact they had on the victim.” Mechanic jailed for blowtorch attack on autistic teen


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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