York & North Yorkshire

Catholic teenager's co-workers staged 'mock crucifixion'

A Catholic teenager was tied to a wooden cross in a mock crucifixion as part of a "sustained course of victimisation and bullying" by work colleagues, a jury has heard.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also had religious and phallic symbols drawn on his face and body with permanent marker, York Crown Court was told.

Four men have gone on trial accused of religiously aggravated assault.

All four deny the charges.

Austin Newman, opening the case for the prosecution, told the jury the boy obtained an apprenticeship at a shop fitting company in Selby, North Yorkshire, in July 2014.

During his apprenticeship, he worked across the country with the four defendants: company manager Andrew Addison, Joseph Rose, Christopher Jackson and Alex Puchir.

Mr Newman said: "He was subjected to acts of bullying, which the Crown say went beyond anything that could reasonably be described as banter or high jinx in the workplace."

'Resembled a crucifixion'

Mr Newman said the boy was a practising Roman Catholic and told the jury the defendants were motivated by hostility based on his religious observance.

Mr Addison, 30, Mr Jackson, 22, and Mr Puchir, 37, are accused of tying the boy to a wooden cross and hanging him from a wall "in a way which resembled a crucifixion" leaving him suspended about a metre above the ground for 10 minutes.

On another occasion, Mr Rose, 21, is accused of using a permanent marker to draw crosses and penises across a large proportion of the boy's body and face while he was asleep.

Mr Rose is also accused of spraying deodorant towards the boy's head and lighting it while he was asleep in bed.

'Workplace banter'

Mr Addison is also accused of tying the teenager to a chair and leaving him locked in a room by himself and pulling the boy off the ground by his underpants - leaving him with cuts and bruises to his buttocks.

The prosecutor said Mr Addison remained silent when interviewed by police after his arrest in May 2015.

The other three defendants accepted their involvement in the incidents but claimed they were part of general workplace "banter", the jury heard.

Mr Addison, of Selby, and Mr Rose, of Bubwith, East Yorkshire, both deny putting a person in fear of violence by harassment and religiously aggravated assault by beating.

Mr Addison also denies a charge of assault by beating.

Mr Jackson, of Barlby, North Yorkshire, and Mr Puchir, of Edinburgh, , both deny religiously aggravated assault by beating.

The trial continues.

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