Drunken Luton man David Weir had set Thomas Smith on fire in broad daylight on New Year's Day. Families with children witnessed the attack, during which the sadistic man stood by and watched Smith burn. Weir was arrested for the attack on the homeless man. Yesterday, he pleaded guilty in Luton Crown Court and has been handed an extended sentence of more than fifteen years.
On New Year's Eve, Weir and a friend had tried to rob Smith. However, Smith fought off the would-be robbers. After the failed robbery, Weir promised revenge on Smith.
Weir later returned to Smith's usual spot on George Street. The homeless man was sitting near the McDonald's in the city centre when he was set alight. Weir had filled a bottle with petrol which he doused Smith with. He then set Smith alight using a lighter.
Horrified shoppers witnessed Smith go up in flames. Some of the shoppers jumped in to help. They helped Smith take off the clothes from his body and put out the flames. Following the attack, Weir did not leave the scene of the crime. He tried to attack Smith again but was prevented by witnesses. According to The Daily Mail, when the police arrived, they found Weir pacing around.
Police tried to arrest the drunken assailant but he resisted arrest. Weir spat at Matthew Bright at Luton Police Station after being arrested. Smith was rushed to Luton and Dunstable Hospital where he received treatment for burns to his face, fingers, and wrist. Smith was convinced that his beard had saved him from worse facial burns. He was in the hospital for three days after the attack.
Yesterday, Weir appeared in court for his hearing. He pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm with intent and a charge of assaulting an emergency worker.
Weir received a 10-and-a-half-year sentence plus five years on extended licence for causing grievous bodily harm. He has to serve two-thirds of the sentence before he is eligible for parole. Weir will concurrently be serving a four-month sentence for the assault on an emergency worker.