A MAN described as a hero by a judge has told of the horror he faced as he tried in vain to rescue a teenager who died after being covered in tanning oil and set on fire.
Steven Simpson, who suffered from Asperger's Syndrome, died after a prank went horribly wrong at his home on Pleasant View, Cudworth, where he was celebrating his 18th birthday.
Sean Banner, his 40-year-old neighbour, tried to save him, but has been left devastated and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after the events in June 2011.
"I can still hear Steven screaming 'please help me'," he said. "I'm sick every day, I don't sleep - I only have about ten minutes every three days and when I do I have nightmares. What's happened ruined Steven's life and has ruined mine."
Sean said he checked on the group at about 10.30pm and then again at about 2.15am, asking them to keep the noise down.
He said Steven seemed to be having a good time, but noticed he was only wearing jeans and trainers and was covered in lipstick writing.
Sean recalled: "All of a sudden Steven came running into the hallway and he was on fire from his toes up to his shins."
He dragged Steven into the bathroom where he threw him into the bath and turned on the taps.
"Everyone was screaming and then they all ran off and left me. I tried putting him in the bath, but the flames went out and then kept coming back."
Sean called the emergency services, and both he and Steven were taken to hospital. Steven died the next day.
But despite his heroic efforts, Sean was arrested and became a suspect in what by then was a murder investigation.
CCTV cameras which had been installed outside his house confirmed his story.
"If it wasn't for those cameras, I would be doing 25 years for trying to save a lad's life," said Sean. "I just wanted to help him so much - it breaks my heart. There were 30 people there and not one of them helped me. If one person had, it would be a different story."