Appeal Lenient Sentence for Hate-Motivated Murder

Target: Director of Public Prosecutions, The Crown Prosecution Service, Keir Starmer

Goal: Pursue justice for gay teen with Asperger syndrome who was lit on fire and later died as a result.

Steven Simpson, 18, was bullied for being gay and having Asperger syndrome before he was doused in tanning oil and lit on fire by 20-year old Jordan Sheard. Sheard was recently sentenced to just three and a half years in jail for the hate crime that resulted in Simpson’s untimely death. Please sign this petition urging England’s prosecuting service to appeal the light sentence due to Sheard’s age and actions after the assault.

Steven Simpson was a thriving 18-year-old British gay man with Asperger syndrome, epilepsy and a speech impairment. He had recently started college in South Yorkshire, England when he threw himself a birthday party in June 2012. Simpson invited the new friends he had made, including Jordan Sheard, 20. Throughout the night there was constant “horseplay” and drinking which resulted in Simpson being taken advantage of. Simpson’s party-goers dared him to strip down to his underwear after which he was tagged with homophobic insults, and then doused in tanning oil. It was then that Sheard, reportedly encouraged by the crowd, lit Simpson on fire. Sheard and the rest of the party fled, leaving Simpson aflame, which later resulted in his death.

During his initial interrogation, Sheard denied his involvement in the crime. He even blamed Simpson for setting himself on fire before eventually confessing, albeit blaming his actions on the crowd’s encouragement rather than his own choices. The trial recently ended with a shocking sentence of only three and a half years for the slow and painful death of Steven Simpson. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), who is responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police, does not plan to appeal because the sentence was “within the range of what would be expected.”

Please sign this petition urging the CPS to appeal the short sentence in the name of Steven Simpson. The crime was aggravated by hate and the defendant was old enough to know what he was doing and tried to lie about his involvement after the fact. Sheard was not only the catalyst to Simpson’s murder, but he fled the scene which resulted in a 60 percent body burn that led to Simpson’s death. Three years in prison for this gruesome act is insulting to Steven Simpson and we must seek justice on his behalf.


Dear Mr. Starmer,

Steven Simpson was an 18-year-old college student who was doused in tanning oil and lit on fire at his 18th birthday party in South Yorkshire, England. Jordan Sheard is the 20-year-old who set Simpson aflame resulting in burns covering more than 60 percent of his body. Sheard and other party goes fled the gruesome scene and Sheard later lied about his involvement. Simpson died as a result of the burns.

Sheard was recently found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to just three years and six months in prison. The leniency of this sentence is insulting, especially when this death was motivated by hate. Steven Simpson was gay, had Asperger syndrome, a speech impairment and epilepsy. For these reasons he was often bullied, but the night of the party crossed a new line. While drinking at the party, Simpson’s guests dared him to strip down to his underwear. He obliged only to be tagged with homophobic slurs using lipstick and pen. Simpson was then doused in tanning oil before Sheard flicked a lighter close to his groin, engulfing him in flames.

The three and a half year sentence is cheating Simpson of the justice he deserves. He was taken advantage of and murdered without thought or reason. At 20 years old, Sheard is old enough to understand right from wrong and the risk of flicking his lighter. Please appeal Steven Simpson’s case seeking harsher a sentence for Jordan Sheard.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: via Yahoo

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