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Man faces jail for suicide bid help
A man who helped his friend attempt to kill himself by supplying him with a can of petrol shortly before he set himself on fire will be jailed today.
Kevin Howe, 20, was warned he faced "a number of years" in custody after he was convicted last month of encouraging or assisting in suicide or an attempt at suicide following a trial at Durham Crown Court.
The defendant and his inseparable friend, Stephen Walker, who was believed to also be his cousin, had been on a heavy drinking session on a bank holiday Sunday in May.
Walker sometimes became suicidal when drunk and badgered Howe to buy him some petrol. Howe bought £4 worth of unleaded fuel from a garage and took it to his 30-year-old friend's home in Walker Drive, Bishop Auckland, County Durham.
The younger man left the house moments before Mr Walker turned himself into a fireball.
He was seen laughing as he left, and said: "He's going to set himself on fire."
Mr Walker suffered burns to 90% of his body and remains in a critical condition in hospital. He must undergo further operations and is at risk of developing a fatal infection.
Howe, of Cheesmond Avenue, Bishop Auckland, was remanded in custody to allow pre-sentence reports to be prepared.
He was due to be sentenced last week but the hearing had to be adjourned because a defence lawyer was held up at another court.