Assisted suicide attempt charge over burning man

A man has been charged with assisted attempted suicide over an incident in which a man was found on fire by police in May.

Kevin Howe, 19, is alleged to have provided the man, who suffered severe burns, with the means to set himself on fire in Bishop Auckland, County Durham.

The 30-year-old man was discovered burning by an officer on patrol in the Woodhouse Close estate on 26 May.

Mr Howe, from Bishop Auckland, is due at Durham Crown Court on 9 September.

'Sufficient evidence'

The man was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, where he was treated for "significant burns", Durham Police said.

Mr Howe had previously been charged with a count of encouraging or assisting an offence of arson with intent to endanger life following the incident, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Elizabeth Reid, specialist prosecutor in the CPS's special crime division, said: "I have now concluded that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to replace this charge with one of assisted attempted suicide.

"This decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and the Director of Public Prosecutions' guidelines on cases of encouraging or assisting suicide."

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