A man was critically ill in hospital yesterday after a gang beat him up...
A man was critically ill in hospital yesterday after a gang beat him up, doused him in petrol and set him alight.
John Bennett, 26, of Southsea, Hants, suffered 85 per cent burns on Saturday night.
Det Chief Insp David Williams described the injuries as the worst he had seen in 26 years of service. He described the attack as "callous, brutal and clearly pre-meditated", adding that officers had so far failed to find a motive.
Mr Bennett was seized by the gang of about five men after answering a knock on his door. Neighbours, alerted by his screams, emerged from their homes with bowls of water and blankets to smother the flames.
One witness, a retired policeman, who asked not to be named, said: "He was alight from head to toe. He ran around the street screaming.
"There was so much fire that two of the cars in the street were burnt. It was absolutely horrific."
Mr Bennett was taken to a hospital in Cosham before being taken by helicopter to a burns unit in East Grinstead.