Petrol stunt lands a jackass in court – the pity is that the idea of drinking the fuel was scrapped

“Why didn’t we drink the petrol instead…?”

Plonkers is one word for them.

Jackasses another.

Alf refers to the bullies whose idea of having a good time included pouring petrol over a teenager and – hey, this sounds like fun – setting fire to him.

The pity is these thugs didn’t stick to an earlier idea.

They talked about drinking petrol.

All going well, we might well be rid of them had they proceeded with this splendid idea.

Splendid, at least, in their case, if they consumed enough of it, and failed to get medical treatment in a hurry.

Alf refers his constituents to medical advice on the matter here.

How well a patient does depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment was received. The faster a patient gets medical help, the better the chance for recovery.

Swallowing gasoline may cause damage to the linings of the mouth, throat, esophagus (food pipe), stomach, and intestines. If gasoline gets into the lungs (aspiration), serious and possibly permanent lung damage can occur.

The harsh taste of gasoline makes it unlikely that large quantities will be swallowed. However, several cases of poisoning have occurred in persons trying to suck (siphon) gas from an automobile tank using a garden hose or other tube. This practice is extremely dangerous and not advised.

To the contrary, Alf advises it for the aforementioned bullies.

All going well, it would rid us of them before they have got around to breeding, thereby giving an obvious boost to the quality of the human gene pool.

In this case, however, they resisted the idea of drinking petrol and turned on a fellow party-goer instead.

The upshot, from a law-and-order point of view, is recorded (here) on Stuff.

And guess what?

One of the miscreants, at least, isn’t taking responsibility for his actions.

Nah, he succumbed to the evil influence of a TV programme (appropriately named Jackass).

A teenager who celebrated his 17th birthday by pouring petrol on a friend and setting him on fire blames his action on the TV show Jackass.

Take note of his name, because you would be wise to give him a wide berth: he is Matt-Dillion Shannon.

About 70 people attended his party in Hastings on August 13 last year, including a lad by name of Hayden Calder.

About midnight, this Calder feller was feeling tired and left the living room to sit on the floor of Shannon’s bedroom.

In a police interview played to a jury in the High Court at Napier yesterday, he said Shannon, now 18, entered the room, picked up a 10-litre plastic petrol container, then left before returning with about eight other people.

He heard Shannon say, “Get him”, then three people grabbed him and held him down.

“He [Shannon] was laughing. He picked up the petrol can and was pouring it over me,” Mr Calder said. “It felt wet and warm. I thought it was just water. When I figured out it wasn’t, I freaked out.”

Shannon then pulled a lighter from his pocket. “I said, ‘Matt, please don’t do this.’ I was begging him.”

But Shannon and the others continued to laugh as he put the lighter to Mr Calder’s T-shirt. Flames shot up the T-shirt on his back, on to his neck and the side of his face.

The names of the three other people, alas, have been suppressed, so they can not be given a wide berth.

But it seems they held Calder down for about 20 seconds until he broke free.

“It was like nothing you could imagine you’d ever feel,” he told police.

“It was the most excruciating thing you could imagine, times 10.”

He ran out of the room and pulled off his burning T-shirt. No-one tried to help him, apart from one teen who patted down the flames on his neck.

He finished up in Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s intensive care unit.

Prosecutor Russell Collins said Mr Calder “was the subject of a most serious case of bullying”.

Shannon has pleaded guilty to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard but not guilty to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

His lawyer, Bill Calver, said Shannon did not intend to cause serious harm. He thought Mr Calder would “roll around, put the fire out, no harm done, and it would be a big laugh for all those present”.

Alf would like to think Shannon finishes up serving a jail sentence, and that his cell-mates thoroughly enjoy his sense of humour.

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