Stephen Walker attempted suicide: Kevin Howe's sentence cut

Kevin Howe Kevin Howe had denied a charge of assisted attempted suicide

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A man who helped his suicidal friend set fire to himself has had his jail term cut.

Kevin Howe, 20, of Bishop Auckland in County Durham, was jailed for 12 years in October after being found guilty of assisting an attempted suicide.

His trial heard he gave Stephen Walker a lighter and petrol at his home in Bishop Auckland. Mr Walker, now 31, was severely burned, but survived.

The Court of Appeal in London reduced the sentence to 10 years.

'Cruel and shocking'

Lord Justice Treacy said that "notwithstanding the gravity of this offence", more weight should have been given to Howe's age, immaturity and absence of previous criminal record.

During Howe's trial at Durham Crown Court, the jury was told the pair had been drinking prior to the incident on 26 May.

Mr Walker, who sometimes became suicidal when drunk, badgered Howe to buy some petrol.

Howe did so, and was seen laughing as he left the house in Walker Drive, and said: "He's going to set himself on fire."

Judge Christopher Prince, sentencing, said: "Perhaps what is most cruel and shocking is that you appear to have taken some delight in what was to occur after you left."

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