Girl's Hair Set On Fire As Prank
The Daily Mail Reporter today provided details about Scaffolder Robert Stockell, 21, who decided to play a prank on a sleeping teenage girl last June by using a cigarette lighter to set her hair on fire.
According to The Daily Mail, Stockell, who had been drinking at an all-day house party, crept up to 17 year old Elise Groves as she lay on a sofa sleeping at a party.
He ignited an aersol can next to Groves' ear and then walked off as the flames spread. Groves awoke to feeling a burning sensation around her hand and face.
She fled the party after putting herself out. She was discovered by police in severe pain with second degree burns to her hand, arm and shoulder.
Groves needed plastic surgery for her hand. It was reported that it was difficult for her to make a fist or to extend her fingers. She is still receiving treatment.
Stockell was arrested and was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm. He has been jailed for nine months.
The house party was designed to echo the MTV show in which participants play dangerous stunts on each other. Stockell and his friends would play bizarre drinking pranks including shaving each other’s eyebrows.
Unfortunately for Elise Groves, she was at the wrong place at the wrong time. She had been at the party but had fallen asleep. According to Defense Counsel Paul Hague, Stockell was standing behind her head and was initially going to lean in and shave off her eyebrows.
For some reason he went back to the kitchen, lit a can of spray which started to flame and left it near her ear and it set her hair and part of her face and hands on fire.
Defense Attorney's Explanation
Hague said in Stockell's defense 'It was a reckless and stupid joke but it is different from an act which intended to hurt but it was the part of culture of this group and the gang of friends who were stupid when with drink."
He also said 'Shaving eyebrows was common place with the girls - they all accepted and pleaded guilty to that. It’s not bullying it’s horseplay, stupidity and everyone was part of it. It’s recklessness and the injury flows from that.
Hague offered additional explanation for Stockell's behavior by saying 'The offence happened during a weekend of excess - drinking too much, too much time and too much money. He became part of this group six months prior to the offence.
'Before this he had been with his girlfriend for three and a half years before they finished and then he fell in with this group. It was heavy drinking horseplay at the weekends and when he was not, he was hard working young man.
'He’s away from parental control, earning good money and at the weekend he drinks too much with this group and involved with horse play. Although the injuries are unpleasant they are not of the worse sort.'
Judge's Response To Stockell
Judge Robert Altham wasn't amused by Stockell's pranks. When passing sentence he said 'The culture at the party was not only drinking but practical jokes, shaving eyebrows, jokes played on you and what you did fell in that environment, but what you went on to do was on a different level.
'Everyone knows how unpleasant burns are. These were sustained when she was unconscious and in no position to look after herself.'What you did plainly went beyond a practical joke and if you take drink that affects the risk you play. You will do immensely stupid things and you will do something again. The ongoing effect on her is one of degradation and humiliation.'
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