Jealous boyfriend who doused a teenage girl in a beer bottle full of petrol leaving her with horrific burns to half her body and too a
Jealous boyfriend who doused a teenage girl in a beer bottle full of petrol leaving her with horrific burns to half her body and too afraid to put fuel in her car could walk free from jail in just six months
A man who splashed fuel on a woman before flicking a lighter that set her on fire has been sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in jail.
Brae Taylor Lewis’ ‘horrendous and disgraceful’ actions left the woman with burns so bad she spent days in an induced coma and nearly a month in hospital after the attack in May 2016.
The 22-year-old man pleaded guilty to one count of malicious act with intent in the Brisbane District Court.
Brae Taylor Lewis was sentenced to 11 years in jail in 2018 after he was convicted of maiming his then-girlfriend by setting her on fire on May 27, 2016
His girlfriend suffered deep dermal burns to 21 per cent of her body and has permanent scars across her arms, chest, abdomen, back and thighs following the attack
The court heard fuel splashed on the woman when Lewis threw a beer bottle containing the flammable liquid at her.
‘She put her hands up in front of herself and as that happened the defendant extended his left hand and flicked the lighter that he held in his left hand,’ crown prosecutor Elizabeth Kelso earlier told the court.
‘The fumes immediately in front of the complainant ignited and effectively the front of her body became involved in flames.’
The woman was left with permanent scarring to her arms, chest, abdomen, back and thighs.
His offending was ‘horrendous and disgraceful’, but a sentence needed to take into account his youthfulness, remorse and rehabilitation efforts while in custody, Brisbane District Court Judge Michael Burnett said on Thursday.
Lewis will have to serve at least half his nine-and-a-half years’ jail term before being eligible for parole.
The woman, who is now 22, told the court she still requires therapy for the ‘brutal attack’ and feels like she is ‘living a life sentence’ (burns left, boyfriend right)
With time already spent in custody since May 2016, he will be eligible for parole in six months.
The woman told the court her sleep is disturbed by recurring nightmares, she is ‘petrified’ of putting fuel in her car and the damage to her skin makes her sensitive to products like soaps, sanitisers and the sun.
She is also self-conscious of her scars and appearance.
‘I found myself crying all the time … and there were times I thought of giving up,’ she said.
‘I have been forced to learn how to cope with the permanent injuries and scarring that this brutal assault has left me with.
‘This is a life sentencing for me that I must endure and cope with every day.
‘No matter how much time passes this will always stay with me.’
Defence barrister Andrew Hoare said Lewis was exposed to violence and trauma in his childhood, and developed a drug habit from the age of 15.
Mr Hoare acknowledged the severe consequences for his client’s actions while also arguing for the sentence to be reduced (her burns are pictured)
The events leading up to Lewis setting his girlfriend alight
The victim and her boyfriend, Brae Taylor Lewis, were in a relationship marked by regular verbal arguments which occasionally led to physical violence.
On the day of the attack, they had consumed methamphetamine along with two of their friends, who were witness to the incident.
Later in the day, a fight broke out between the couple when the woman asked to use the mobile phone that they shared to check in with Centrelink.
Lewis threw petrol on her and threatened to set her alight. It was the second time he’d made the same threat in months, but said this time he’d ‘really do it’.
She later told the court she did not take the threat seriously and simply asked for the phone again. She explained that she had pushed Lewis and that he later lifted the lighter toward her.
The fumes caught alight and quickly engulfed her clothing and upper body. Lewis immediately approached the then-17-year-old and tried to put of the flames, but she pulled away from him.
Neighbours rushed to the scene and emergency services were called. She was placed in a shower with cold water running over her at the request of paramedics.
A witness, who admitted to being under the influence of drugs, said the woman’s skin was peeling off her arms and chest.
A neighbour then threatened Lewis, who fled and refused to reveal his location until police located him the next day.
Lewis has remained in custody since that arrest, and has been charged with asking his new girlfriend to sneak drugs into the jail.
He was sentenced to 11 years in custody but was granted an appeal on the basis that he did not intend to cause grievous bodily harm.
On Wednesday, he changed his plea to guilty.
But the victim’s mother reported that she believed he was not remorseful and the guilty plea was instead tactical to get out of prison earlier.
The prosecution cited a Facebook post made under Lewis’ name days prior which read: ‘Plead guilty and get out in a few weeks… Who wouldn’t? F*ck yeah.’