A furious woman who believed a transvestite had stolen property from her, including a Louis Vuitton handbag, showered him with petrol at his home in Birmingham, before setting him on fire, a court has been told.
Ricardo Da Silva suffered “horrendous” injuries as a result of the attack in Digbeth and was only given 50 per cent chance of survival when he was taken to hospital.
Gabryela Passos had earlier sent a “chilling” text to her friend warning him of the “nightmare” she was about to inflict on the victim, Birmingham Crown Court was told.
Passos, 29, of Hogarth Road, Earls Court, and Raphael Modesto, 22, of Villiers Street, Charing Cross, both London, have denied attempting to murder Mr Da Silva, while Modesto has also pleaded not guilty to a charge of arson with intent.
Peter Grieves-Smith, prosecuting, said Mr Da Silva, aged 25 at the time, and the two defendants are all Brazilian nationals and that Passos and Modesto had previously stayed at the victim's flat at Avoca Court, in Digbeth, where they had left some property behind.
He said that the defendants returned to the flat on the evening of December 8 last year when Passos demanded to know where her handbag was.
Mr Da Silva told them that he did not know where it was and also claimed that a computer which contained Passos’s “memories of a life time” had been stolen, said Mr Grieves-Smith.
Armed with a sense of grievance Passos phoned a taxi driver friend in London asking him to pick her up from Birmingham and also sent a text message asking him to bring five litres of alcohol, he said.
While waiting for the driver to arrive Passos also sent a series of texts to her co-defendant telling him “that something awful was to happen”, it was alleged.
When the driver turned up Passos then left with him to buy three pounds of petrol and a container while Modesto’s role was to make sure that the victim, a homosexual man who sometimes dressed as a woman, stayed in the flat, said Mr Grieves-Smith.
He said when Passos returned she transferred the petrol into a mop bucket which she then threw over Mr Da Silva in the lounge.
She then threw a light onto the floor setting the carpet alight, the flames then spreading to the victim and up his body, said Mr Grieves-Smith.
“Both defendants left the block and made their way to London leaving their former friend on fire. Mr Da Silva, now alight, went into the bathroom and turned on the shower and tried to extinguish the flames but without success,” he said.
Mr Grieves-Smith said the victim desperately tried to get help from other residents before emergency services arrived.
He said Mr Da Silva, whose hands had melted, suffered about 70 per cent burns to his body.