Thug strangled and set fire to former lover, 17, in homophobic ‘torture’ attack

A group of thugs beat, strangled and set fire to a 17-year-old in a homophobic torture attack, a judge has heard.

Taylor Knight, 20, had been in a relationship with the victim but led the brutal homophobic assault at his Kings Heath flat in Birmingham, motivated by his own "repressed sexuality".

The group also threw boiling water at the terrified teenager as he cowered in a bathtub, having already had cigarette ends thrown at him.

Harrowing footage of the victim on the floor as punches and kicks rained down was shown to Birmingham Crown Court.

Knight, appearing on a link from HMP Brinsford in Staffordshire, turned away as the footage was played.

The teenager had also had his mobile phone and £25 stolen from him and later stated he had been "broken" by the ordeal.

Knight had been in contact with the victim from early March last year – the pair spoke about sex and spent a night together.

However, when they were with Knight's friends, including one nicknamed "Ace", the situation became violent when the victim tried to explain he was in a relationship with Knight.

Knight threw a sandwich and water at the teenager's face, prompting the victim to text his brother for help and include his location, which he used to alert police.

He was then cornered and punched and kicked to the ground as one of the group filmed on a mobile phone.

Prosecutor Omar Majid said: "The defendant and those with him engaged in behaviour which can properly be described as torture.”

The victim was ordered to take off his shirt and trousers as they proceeded to "drag him around the flat" before Knight threatened to "rape and burn him", before they used an aerosol can and lighter to singe his hair.

Mr Majid said: "The defendant proceeded to take a wire, place it around the victim's neck and strangle him with it. He then put him in a headlock while 'Ace' kicked him in the face.

"They dragged him into the bathroom and made him sit in the bath in cold water and threw cigarette ends at him."

Police video showing an officer talking to the 17-year-old alone captured him quivering and fighting back tears, before bravely nodding to confirm his attackers were those in the same flat.

The 20-year-old, of Middlepark Drive, Northfield, admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm, theft, and child abduction.

Passing sentence on Friday, September 3, Judge Heidi Kubik QC stated he was fortunate for the Crown Prosecution Service's "framing" of the case, admitting her punishment powers were limited. She jailed Knight for three years and eight months.

The 15-year-old girl was convicted of theft and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, while there was no action taken against the second female.

"Ace" has never been identified.

Judge Kubik ruled that it was a hate crime and said: "This clearly was a homophobic attack upon the victim. He was subjected to homophobic abuse by the group including yourself.

"The fact you chose to join in because of your own repressed sexuality or feelings does not prevent this being an offence within the meaning of the act."

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