Flare-throwing teens jailed for car death

Vilson Meshi Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Vilson Meshi died from breathing in smoke after a flare was thrown into the car he was sleeping in

Two teenagers have been jailed over the death of a man who was burned alive in his car when a marine distress flare was thrown into it.

Vilson Meshi, 30, was found in a burnt-out Audi A4 in Pitsea, Essex, on 27 February 2016.

At Chelmsford Crown Court Keani Hobbs, 18, and a boy, 16, who cannot be named because of his age, were convicted of manslaughter.

Hobbs was given a nine-year sentence and the boy was detained for six years.

Both defendants were also convicted of theft and their sentences for that offence will run concurrently to the sentence for manslaughter.

Image caption Vilson Meshi was found dead in the burnt-out car in February 2016

The pair had stolen a marine distress flare from Wat Tyler marina in Basildon a fortnight before Mr Meshi's death, the court heard.

Remnants of the flare were later found in Mr Meshi's car in Pincey Mead and in a nearby alleyway.

He had been sleeping in his car, having travelled down to Essex from Manchester to see his children from a previous relationship.

In a statement, Mr Meshi's family said: "No matter what the verdict, it will never bring our son Vilson home or make us feel better about what happened that February morning in 2016.

"What happened has changed our lives forever and probably the lives of the two defendants' families as well," they said.

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