A teenage apprentice was “crucified” by workmates in a catalogue of bullying which went on for months, because of his religious beliefs a court heard.
In what they claimed was simply “high jinks” the Catholic shop fitter was tied to a makeshift cross with tape and then fastened to a sheet of plasterboad before being suspended a metre off the ground.
On another occasion he managed to escape injury when a deodorant aerosol was lit and the makeshift flame thrower was pointed at his head.
Today four workmates of the teenager, who was between 17 and 18 at the time and who can not be named for legal reasons, went on trial accused of a catalogue of bullying and harassment, which the prosecution claimed amounted to religious aggravation.
A jury at York Crown Court was told that between July 2014 and April 2015, the teenager was subjected to “a sustained course of victimisation and bullying in the work place.”
After leaving Selby College in North Yorkshire after studying carpentry and joinery, the teenager got an apprenticeship with the Selby based company Direct Interior Solutions and joined a team of shop fitters who worked all over the country.
The team was led by one of the defendants, Andrew Addison, who said Mr.Austin Newman, prosecuting, was responsible for the welfare of the alleged victim.
But what the co-worker endured was “beyond anything that could be described as banter or high jinks in the work place,” he said.
While the team were working in London, they had digs in Harrow and one night after going out drinking the defendants returned to find the teenager in bed.
Mr Newman said he woke to find one of the four, Joseph Rose, above him, holding a can of deodorant in one hand and a lighter in the other.
“He lit the spray, causing the flame to become a flame thrower and the fireball narrowly missed the victim’s head.
“He only avoided serious injury by pulling the duvet over his head.”
On another occasion while they were working in Basildon, Essex the teenager stayed in their digs while his workmates went out drinking and when they got back Rose allegedly took a permanent marker pen and drew religious and phallic symbols over the teenager’s face and body while he was asleep.
Mr Newman said: “We say that the cross was indicative of hostility towards the victim based on his religious observance”.
On another occasion, while the team was working at a bank in the centre of York, it is alleged that Addison tied the boy to a chair with Duct tape, fastened a child’s dummy in his mouth and then carried him out into the street where he was left for several minutes before being carried back inside and locked in a room.
Mr Newman said: “This was clearly a case of bullying and extremely demeaning to the complainant.”
It was during a bank refit in Hull, the jury was told that the workmen tied the teenager to a makeshift cross, fashioned out of two lengths of wood, and then tied him to a piece of plasterboard on a wall and then before lifted him a metre off the ground.
“They did it in a way that resembled a crucifixion,” said Mr.Newman. “It was an indication of the hostility towards the teenager based on his religious observance.”
After the police were called in the defendants were interviewed.
Addison refused to comment but Rose and the other two, Christopher Jackson and Alex Puchir claimed it was simply “banter and high jinks” between workmates and had nothing to do with religion.
One suggested that the teenager was complaint with what had happened.
Addison,30, from Selby, North Yorks and Rose,21, from Bubwith near Selby deny putting a person in fear of violence by harassment. Rose denies religious aggravated assault by beating.
Addison, along with Jackson,22, from Barlby, near Selby and Puchir,37, from Edinburgh also deny religious aggravated assault by beating g and Addison also denied another charge of assault by beating.
The trial continues.