James Gillbrand, 25, set his mate on fire as part of a “prank” that ended up leaving him with burns so severe that he had to have his left leg amputated. Gillbrand has now been jailed for 5 years.
Craig Finn passed out on the bathroom floor after watching a football match and drinking with friends.
The night of fun turned into an absolute nightmare when Gillbrand decided to prank Finn. The prank involved pouring 200ml of turpentine on Finn’s legs before igniting a kitchen roll and setting him on fire.
Gillbrand then proceeded to take two photos of Finn as his clothes melted into his skin. He then shut the door of the bathroom and left him inside.
Gillbrand soon dialled 999 but played down the injuries, which meant that an ambulance was not sent. It was Craig Finn’s roommate who woke up later and sorted things out, realising how serious his injuries were.
Finn was rushed to hospital and left fighting for his life with 70 percent third degree burns across his lower body. The burns resulted in his left leg being amputated.
He remained in a coma for an entire month at Newcastle Royal Victoria infirmary.
Prosecutor Richard Bennett said the defendant “was laughing loudly and singing about Craig Finn being on fire.”
Gillbrand has called the situation a “a prank that went horribly wrong” and has apologised to the family of Mr Finn and Craig Finn himself.
Judge Simon Hickey said there was no sentence that he could pass to do justice as to what Finn had suffered.
“His mother spoke about how she had to watch him suffer in hospital, and saw him attached to machines, I can’t imagine what that must be like,” Judge Hickey added.
Mr Finn has said that he “still can’t sleep at night as I am scared to go to sleep because of the bad dreams I suffer from. I dream about being set on fire and I have the fear of dying.”
“I have problems with trust, James was a good friend who I always stuck by, even when he fell out with others.”
“In the future, if I was to have children of my own, I worry that I would not be able to look after them because of my injury.”
“My life has changed forever. Every morning I have to wake up and put my leg on.”
This is a truly horrific story. If you think you’re funny instigating a prank that involves causing someone grief or physical pain you can fuck right off. That’s not a prank.