Homophobic thug, 20, who enlisted gang of friends to beat, strangle and set fire to male lover, 17, during brutal torture ordeal blames his ‘repressed sexuality’ as he’s jailed for three years
- Taylor Knight, 20, employed three friends to help beat, strangle and burn victim
- The prolonged attack happened at his flat in Kings Heath, Birmingham in March
- Knight was jailed for three years and eight months at Birmingham Crown Court
A thug who ‘tortured’ a 17-year-old boy in a horrific homophobic attack has been jailed after blaming his behaviour on his ‘own repressed sexuality.’
Taylor Knight, 20, employed the help of three friends to beat, strangle and set fire to the victim at his flat in Kings Heath, Birmingham, in March of this year.
He was assisted by two teenage girls, one of whom threw boiling water at the victim, and an unknown male known as ‘Ace’, who repeatedly kicked the teen in the face.
Harrowing mobile phone footage was shown to Birmingham Crown Court of the victim on the floor as punches and kicks rained down while the group repeatedly called him ‘p****’.
The victim – who was also robbed of his phone – has been left with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and told the court via a statement that he was ‘broken’ following the ordeal.
Knight, appearing on a link from HMP Brinsford in Staffordshire, turned away as footage of the attack was played to the court.
He admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm, theft, and child abduction, and was jailed for three years and eight months on September 3.
Taylor Knight, 20, along with three others, beat, strangled and set fire to the victim at his flat in Kings Heath, Birmingham, in March of this year
Judge Heidi Kubik QC said he was fortunate for the Crown Prosecution Service’s ‘framing’ of the case, admitting her punishment powers were limited.
The 15-year-old girl was convicted of theft and assault occasioning actual bodily harm and was sentenced to a youth rehabilitation order.
No action was taken against the second female while ‘Ace’ has never been identified.
The court had heard how Knight had been in a relationship with the victim, and that the pair regularly communicated via text.
But things turned sour on March 13 when they were in the company of Knight’s friend ‘Ace’, who made homophobic comments towards the 17-year-old.
‘He was egged on and encouraged by this defendant, he didn’t stop it,’ said prosecutor Omar Majid.
Then on March 18 the victim went to meet Knight at his flat in Moss Grove, but en-route was called by ‘Ace’ – who was waiting at the flat – who again hurled similar discriminatory slurs, calling him ‘p****’ and ‘b**** b**’.
Also at the address were two teenage girls.
Mr Majid said: ‘The victim tried to explain he was actually in a relationship with the defendant as far as he understood it.
Knight, appearing on a link from HMP Brinsford in Staffordshire (pictured), turned away as the footage of attack was played to the court
‘That appears to be the trigger for the defendant to become violent.’
Knight threw a sandwich and water at the teenager’s face, prompting him to text his brother for help and include his location.
He was then cornered and punched and kicked to the ground as one of the group filmed gleefully on a mobile phone.
The victim was ordered to take off his shirt and trousers as they proceeded to ‘drag him around the flat’ before Knight threatened to ‘rape and burn him’.
They followed through on the latter by using an aerosol can and lighter to singe his hair.
At that point his money, amounting to £25, and his phone were taken from him, and the attack escalated.
‘The defendant and those with him engaged in behaviour which can properly be described as torture,’ said Mr Majid.
‘The defendant proceeded to take a wire, place it around the victim’s neck and strangle him with it.
‘He then put him in a headlock while ‘Ace’ kicked him in the face.
‘They dragged him into the bathroom and made him sit in the bath in cold water and threw cigarette ends at him.’
Knight and Ace then left briefly to buy drugs, which is when the 15-year-old girl aimed boiling water at the victim.
When Knight returned he threatened to kidnap and stab the young male.
Meanwhile the victim’s brother, who had been frantically trying to reach him, alerted police who arrived at the flat.
Knight shamelessly claimed he did not know the victim but had brought him back to his flat after seeing outside a shop in a beaten state.
Birmingham Crown Court (pictured) had heard how Knight had been in a relationship with the victim, and that the pair regularly communicated via text
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.
Mr Majid read an emotional statement the victim made later saying he now had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), that the attack had ‘broken’ him and made him scared to sleep in case he dreamt about it.
Lawrence Selby, defending Knight, clarified that the girl he was banned from seeing visited him voluntarily that day and was not there against her own will.
The barrister stated his client had a ‘troubled upbringing’ and was diagnosed with Autism, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a personality disorder but was now receiving effective treatment inside prison and was clean of drugs.
Turning to the attack, Mr Selby told the court Knight was ‘visibly agitated’ when shown the footage and said: ‘There’s genuine remorse.
‘Once he has had it explained to him the impact of his behaviour he says he feels disgusted and shame for his actions.’
He argued the defendant was ‘not motivated by the victim’s sexuality but his own sexuality’.
But Judge Kubik ruled that it was a hate crime and said: ‘This clearly was a homophobic attack upon the victim.
‘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 offence within the meaning of the act.’
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