A man in Birmingham, England, has been sentenced to three years and eight months in prison in connection with a horrific attack on a gay teenager earlier this year.
Taylor Knight, 20, pleaded guilty to “assault occasioning actual bodily harm, theft, and child abduction” in the assault on a 17-year-old, with whom he had been in a relationship, the Birmingham Mail reports.
Knight led several others, including a 15-year-old girl, in attacking the victim, whose name has not been made public. They went to the teenager’s apartment in the Birmingham suburb of King’s Heath in March, where they beat and kicked him, set fire to his hair, and choked him with a wire, according to testimony and video footage shown in Birmingham Crown Court. They then dragged him into a bathtub filled with cold water and threw boiling water and cigarettes at him, and Knight threatened to kidnap and stab him. They also used antigay slurs against him and stole his money and phone. The victim’s brother, who had become concerned when he couldn’t reach the teen, called police, who interrupted the attack.
Knight told police he had found the victim on the street, already injured, and brought him home. But “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 Mail reports.
“The defendant and those with him engaged in behavior which can properly be described as torture,” prosecutor Omar Majid said in court.
Knight’s attorney, Lawrence Selby, said Knight had shown “genuine remorse” and that the defendant acted not out of hate for the victim’s sexuality but for Knight’s “own sexuality.” But Judge Heidi Kubik, who handed down the sentence September 3, was not swayed.
“This clearly was a homophobic attack upon the victim,” she said to Knight. “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 offense within the meaning of the act.”
The child abduction charge stems from Knight recruiting the 15-year-old girl to join in the attack. Selby said Knight had been barred from seeing her, but she joined him voluntarily. The girl, who has mental health issues, was already convicted of theft and assault and placed in a youth rehabilitation center.