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Abuse hurled at judge as two jailed for killing man by throwing flare into car

Vilson Meshi was asleep in the back of his Audi outside his former partner’s house when a flare was thrown inside.

Two teenagers who killed a “superhero daddy” by throwing a lit flare into his car as he slept inside it have been jailed, as the family of one defendant hurled abuse at the sentencing judge.

Father-of-three Vilson Meshi was asleep in the back of his Audi outside his former partner’s house, where he was to visit two of his children the next morning.

The 31-year-old car wash boss died of inhaling fire fumes on February 27 2016.

Keani Hobbs has been jailed at Chelmsford Crown Court (Essex Police/PA)

Keani Hobbs, 18, and a 16-year-old boy who cannot be named for legal reasons, were both found guilty of manslaughter and theft of marine distress flares from a docked boat at an earlier trial, and were sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday.

Judge Patricia Lynch said the teenagers’ actions had been “for fun”, and she jailed Hobbs for nine years and the younger co-defendant for six years.

As the 16-year-old’s lesser sentence was read out, there was a shout of “f****** soft spot corrupt bitch as far as I’m concerned” and “disgusting” from the family of Hobbs, who were sitting in the public gallery, directed at the judge. Some people then stormed out of the public gallery.

The inside of the Audi car belonging to Vilson Meshi who died after inhaling fire fumes (Essex Police/PA)

Mr Meshi, who rented a flat in Glossop, Derbyshire, had parked his car in Basildon, Essex, where he had arranged to visit his children the next day, when the flare was thrown into his vehicle.

Judge Lynch said the defendants were “both equally culpable in this case”.

She said the 16-year-old took Hobbs to the car “knowing what was going to be done”, and that Hobbs’s part was “igniting the flare and throwing it into the car”.

“Neither of you realised the man was going to die, but you must have realised it would have caused harm,” she said. “Your actions were reckless, they were stupid and they were dangerous.”

She continued: “The whole reckless enterprise was on the basis that it would be fun to throw a lighted flare into a vehicle where a man was asleep in the back.”

Mr Meshi’s former partner, Michelle Mehtab, said in a victim personal statement that he was a “doting father” and regularly travelled to see their two children.

“Nothing or no-one can replace their superhero daddy in their eyes,” she said.

Mr Meshi’s parents, Islam and Drita Meshi, said their son was “cruelly, unnecessarily and mindlessly killed”. In a statement read outside court by family liaison officer Steve Judd, Mr Meshi’s parents said “whilst nothing will bring Vilson back, we feel justice has been done”.

The type of flare used in the attack (Essex Police/PA)

Hobbs, who wore a parka jacket with a large fluffy hood, sobbed as she was led to the cells and shouted “I love you” to family in the public gallery. Hobbs, of Stagden Cross, Pitsea, Essex, was jailed for nine years for manslaughter and 12 months concurrently for theft.

The 16-year-old, of Camberwell, London, was jailed for six years for manslaughter, with 12 months to run concurrently for theft.

Charlie Sherrard, mitigating for the 16-year-old, said the youth could not read or write properly, and had been brought up in an environment where it was deemed acceptable to “go round thieving”.

Tony Badenoch, mitigating for Hobbs, said she had no previous convictions.

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