A disgruntled customer who threw a petrol bomb into a crowded clothing store, engulfing a six-year-old girl in a ball of flames, was today jailed for life.
Asa Lawrence (pictured), 25, was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent following a four-day trial at Birmingham Crown Court earlier this year.
Sentencing Lawrence at the same court today, Judge David Matthews ordered that the double glazing salesman should not be considered for parole for at least seven years.
The judge said the defendant, of Merridale Road, Wolverhampton, was a "dangerous young man" and that the offence - committed last summer at the TK Maxx store in Perry Barr, Birmingham - had been an evil act.
The judge said Lawrence, who refused to leave the cells to hear his fate, would remain on licence for life after his eventual release.
Lawrence had launched the attack as an act of revenge "out of all proportion to any perceived grievance" following a petty dispute with management 24 hours earlier.
The offence was committed on the afternoon of August 27 last year as Shae Thomas, her mother Cherra Johnson, and grandmother Nora Johnson were entering the shop.
Asa Lawrence in the doorway as Shae goes into the store with her mother... The missile can be seen as it leaves Lawrence's hand with the top of Shae's head just visible... The flash of the exploding petrol bomb as it hit the top of the door
Shae, from Bristol, suffered serious burns to her head, shoulder and arm after the firebomb clipped the underside of an internal door frame, exploding in mid-air and showering her with burning petrol vapours.
Judge Matthews said: "It was to have the most terrible consequences for a pretty and vibrant little girl, who was just six years old at the time.
"While Asa Lawrence is an intelligent and articulate young man, he is also violent, capable of irrational anger and resentment, and capable when angry of causing serious harm.
"In my judgment he is a dangerous young man from whom the public requires protection for an indefinite period until others deem it appropriate for him to return to the community."
More on this story in Saturday's Birmingham Post