York & North Yorkshire

Catholic teenager hung on cross at work left 'ashamed'

The four defendants Image copyright PA
Image caption (Clockwise from top left) Joseph Rose, Andrew Addison, Christopher Jackson and Alex Puchir all deny the charges

A Catholic teenager felt "ashamed" and "embarrassed" after he was tied to a wooden cross by workmates in a mock crucifixion, a court has heard.

The teenager, who cannot be named, told York Crown Court he was left feeling distraught after a sustained campaign of bullying by his colleagues.

Andrew Addison, 30, Joseph Rose, 21, Christopher Jackson, 22, and Alex Puchir, 37, are accused of religiously aggravated assault by beating.

All four deny the charges against them.

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The prosecution alleged the victim, who is now 19, also had religious and phallic symbols drawn on his body with permanent marker, was tied to a chair, had deodorant sprayed towards him and ignited and was violently hoisted off the ground by his underpants.

The court heard the incidents happened when he was serving an apprenticeship at the Direct Interior Solutions - a shop-fitting company in Selby, North Yorkshire.

'Ashamed and distraught'

Giving evidence by video link, the victim, who was aged 17 and 18 and a student at Selby College at the time of the alleged incidents, said: "[I felt] ashamed and distraught. I couldn't believe it. It hadn't happened to anyone else."

He told the court that he was working on a bank refit in Hull, East Yorkshire, in January 2015, when company manager Mr Addison and Mr Jackson grabbed his arms and legs.

He said Mr Puchir was told to make a cross, which he fashioned from two pieces of timber.

"I was then lifted up and put on to the cross and secured on to it," the jury was told.

"I was then put up on to the wall."

The victim told the jury he was suspended about three feet above the floor as people working on the site filmed the incident.

He said: "At the time, I didn't really know what to feel. I just felt ashamed that everyone else saw what was happening to me and it wasn't happening to anyone else. I just felt really embarrassed.

"Afterwards, I started thinking maybe they were just trying to take the mickey out of my religion. I didn't really understand why there was a cross made."

The victim told the court he was a churchgoer and had told his colleagues he ignored his phone on one occasion because he was in a church service.

'Humiliating'

The teenager described an earlier incident when the company was working on a site in Essex and Mr Rose used a marker pen to cover him "from head to toe" in crosses and images of penises while he was asleep in a hotel room.

He said the incident was "humiliating" and that he felt "stupid" having to go to work covered in the drawings. He was left with sore, red skin after scrubbing the marks off, he told the jury.

The victim told the court that he did not make a complaint at the time of the incidents because he did not want to get sacked, he did not want anyone to know what was happening to him and he was scared of his colleagues.

Mr Addison, 30, of Selby, and Mr Rose, 21, 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, 22, of Barlby, North Yorkshire, and Mr Puchir, 37, of Edinburgh, both deny religiously aggravated assault by beating.

The trial continues.

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