Joker who set fire to sleeping pal’s shorts spared jail

GR8 hotel, Central Drive
GR8 hotel, Central Drive
Have your say

A man who thought it would be funny to set his sleeping friend’s boxer shorts on fire in an idiotic prank has escaped being sent to jail.

Paul Hodgson first threw 
aftershave on to his friend’s underwear, before setting his pants alight at the GR8 hotel on Central Drive, Blackpool.

As a result of the prank, the victim suffered second and third degree burns and was forced to take four months off work .

Preston Crown Court heard the victim didn’t know who was responsible until Hodgson later apologised.

Hodgson, 23, of Burnside Road, Kendal pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm.

His behaviour was branded “thoughtless and immature” by Judge Pamela Badley, who gave him a 16-months jail term suspended for two years and ordered him to pay £4,000 compensation.

The court heard the 
victim’s father had died a month before the offence on February 17 last year and a group of friends had gone to Blackpool for a night out to celebrate his birthday.

Prosecutors said they booked into the GR8 hotel and went on to get very drunk.

The victim was later sharing a room with some of the others and asleep in his boxer shorts when Hodgson went into the room, poured aftershave on to his boxer shorts and set them on fire.

“Plainly, this was intended to be a joke, but the victim woke up in excruciating pain, with his boxers on fire”, said Mr Allman.

The victim was initially too drunk to appreciate how bad his injuries were and went back to sleep.

The following morning he woke up, poured cold water on his injuries and tried to treat them with cream. The next day in a bar Hodgson

The victim admitted himself to hospital, where the three large burns to his thighs were cleaned and bandaged.

But in a victim personal statement, he spoke of losing about £4,000 due to being
 unable to work or sleep.

The court heard Hodgson had previously served 84 days in prison in 2010 over a bomb hoax that also happened when he was drunk.

Joe Hart, defending, said: “This incident has served as something of a wake-up call for the defendant.”

Judge Badley said: “If you ever think something will be amusing, you should reflect your sense of humour has not gone down well with others.”