Published: 14:00, 29 April 2016
| Updated: 14:16, 29 April 2016
Two sadistic thugs have been jailed after they tortured a man by making him strip and pouring boiling water over him as punishment for stealing drugs.
Victim Kevin Ward told of feeling “excruciating pain” as the water from a just boiled kettle hit his exposed body. “I have never experienced anything like it,” he said.
Prosecutor Tom Dunn described the attack at Mr Ward’s Rochester home, which caused second degree burns and scarring, as “sadistic and gratuitous torturing”.
Alando McNeish, of Grafton Avenue, Rochester, denied causing grievous bodily harm with intent but was convicted in August last year. Aaron Rickets, of Bligh Way, Strood, admitted the charge.
McNeish, 22, was sentenced to 10-and-a-half years and 20-year-old Rickets to seven years and 10 months.
Judge Julian Smith told them today: “Plainly, the injury could have been so much worse. Your intention it is apparent to me was to cause him the most intense and overwhelming pain.
“You intended to punish him and crush his will. You achieved that.”
Maidstone Crown Court heard part of the revenge attack was filmed on a mobile phone by Amarl Wood, who was not before the court.
Mr Ward arrived at his partner’s maisonette in Corporation Street on February 5 last year to find his friend Rickets - known as T - there.
While they were chatting two other black men, one of them 18-stone McNeish - known as Max - walked in. Wood, 20, was filming on his mobile phone.
Film later recovered from the phone showed Mr Ward being ordered to sit down. Rickets demanded an explanation for drugs delivered by Mr Ward as being “small”.
Rickets calmly told the victim: “I am going to make sure you never thieve again. Take off your clothes.”
Terrified Mr Ward pleaded for mercy. McNeish struck him several times to the head. He was told he was going to be taught a lesson.
McNeish fetched a kettle and told Mr Ward to hold out his left hand. Water was then poured over it.
“He screamed in agony, but he continued to have boiling water poured over his hand,” said Mr Dunn. “He was told to shut up.
“It was discussed that the kettle was not hot enough, so it was refilled and re-boiled.”
McNeish heated up a metal ladle and burnt Mr Ward on various parts of his body. He also made Mr Ward put his left hand on the floor and jumped up and down on it.
He told him to clench his fist so that he could break his fingers more easily. Mr Ward claimed he was unable to do it as his wrist was broken.
More boiling water was poured over various parts of his body.
“By now, the pain was too much for Mr Ward to bear and in desperation he managed to jump up from the sofa and run into the kitchen,” said Mr Dunn.
“Yet more boiling water was thrown over him as he did so, landing on his back, neck, left shoulder, arm and chest. He managed to escape through the back door and ran naked to his neighbour’s house.”
“It was discussed that the kettle was not hot enough, so it was refilled and re-boiled" - Tom Dunn
The neighbour, Lee Granville, let him in and showered him in cold water to try to ease the burns.
Mr Ward went into shock and his body started to convulse in “unbelievable pain”.
He was taken to Medway Hospital and treated before being sent to the burns unit at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.
A mobile phone containing the film of part of the attack was later recovered from Wood’s car and McNeish was recognised.
The judge said it was clear the victim was “profoundly reluctant” to have anything to do with the prosecution.
The court heard that he is now serving a sentence in the same prison as McNeish and there was no ill-feeling between them.
Judge Smith said McNeish’s trial was one that “lives in the memory as a deliberate and calculated piece of cruelty and torture which causes significant harm”.
He continued: “What is apparent is you rendered Mr Ward almost incoherent with fear. He was beaten into submission by you Alando McNeish and expecting punishment to follow. It did.”
When the victim finally took his chance and escaped, it was to be assumed he avoided “still worse”.
“It is perfectly clear Mr Ward was profoundly reluctant to have anything to do with this prosecution,” said the judge. “Bearing in mind what happened to him there is no surprise in that.”
Neither McNeish or Rickets had criminal records that were exceptional or unusual. McNeish was intelligent and capable.
“You have fine qualities but they were missing that day,” said Judge Smith. “You have involved yourself in something almost unspeakable.
“There was planning and you degraded and humiliated him.”
Giving evidence at McNeish’s trial, Kevin Ward said he was pushed into a chair and slapped several times by him.
“I was told to strip,” he said. “I disputed it for a while and eventually I stripped. I was feeling nervous, worried. I took my clothes off because I thought it was for the best.
“I kept getting hit. I was told to sit in the corner. They produced a kettle from the kitchen.”
Mr Ward said of the boiling water being poured over his hand: “It was the worst pain I have ever had. I cried out. I was told not to. They decided the water wasn’t hot enough.”
He described how 18-stone McNeish also used a hot ladle to burn him and also jumped up and down on his arms and hands.
“I don’t remember too much, I was trying to get out of the place,” Mr Ward continued. “Ricketts played a similar role. He poured water on the palm of my hand and my leg.
“I have never experienced pain like it. I saw an opportunity to get out of the house. I went to run for the back door. It seemed like time froze for a second.
“As I ran I felt the kettle (of water) being thrown over me. I had to unlock the door. I managed to get down the stairs and out of the building.
“I am standing in the back garden naked. I was in a lot of pain.”
He went to a neighbour’s home and was not let in at first because he was naked.
“He was a bit shocked,” he said. “He let me in and put me under a cold shower. The pain was excruciating. It lasted for weeks.”
Mr Ward added: “My injuries have healed but they are still there. They have left marks.”