Khaled Hassan left his victim with permanent scars after repeatedly setting him alight, hitting him with a crutch and throwing glass bottles at him.
The man, who is blind in one eye, suffers with alcoholism and a mental health disorder. He was sleeping on a bench near St Hilda’s Church in South Shield in the early hours of July 9 last when the attack took place.
When he was eventually found by the church’s vicar later that next morning, the 59-year-old victim was ‘bloodied and burned’ and has been drawn on with a pen.
It was later discovered he and the blanket and sleeping bag he had been using for warmth, were set on fire 25 times by Hassan.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 43-year-old and his pal Mark Liddle, 51, had pulled the victim’s blanket over his head to disorientate him when they saw him sleeping on the bench at around 6am.