The defence lawyer for one of the four minors who burnt a man alive said they had not intended to do so. Juan Maria de la Rosa told a Cordoba court last week that it was “joke that got out of hand”. In October last year, the four youths thought it would be a “good joke” to sprinkle the beggar with paint thinner then set him alight, not realising how highly inflammable the solution was. However, she admitted that the boys regularly tormented the man, who earned a living begging on the street, and that they had set fire to his house at least four times. The sister of the youngest youth said the boys had only wanted to give the man “a fright”. The prosecution is asking for each boy to be sent to a remand home for five years followed by two years of supervised freedom.


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