Posted by: myautisticmuslimchild | October 2, 2010

Autistic boy, 12, dies after 2 teenagers torched house while his mother was at work

I have read story after story in the past week about bullying in school, or on the internet.  It seems that kids these days have no respect, and they develop some level of arrogance, thinking they can get away with everything, even murder like in this case below.

We often ask whose fault is this? I certainly blame parenting. If the child is not learning respect , accountability and humanity at home, there is a very small chance that he will learn it from school. Schools are overwhelmed with budget cuts combined with high student teacher ratios, and they really don’t have time to teach kids the basics of humanity. This story below saddens me a great deal.  A child , whose life was already compromised by this disorder, has been killed by two  inhuman teenagers.  Autistic kids are getting punched from every direction. Their parents already have to fight for their rights. Now it seems, they also have to fight to keep them alive from bullying kids. Seems like our fight never ends. Please read the article below.

By Daily Mail Reporter

A 12-year-old autistic boy died when two teenagers deliberately set fire to his home, a court has hea

Damian Clough, who was left alone by his mother while she was at work, was killed by poisonous fumes from the deadly blaze in Keighley, West Yorkshire on April 4 last year.

He was asleep in his bedroom with no means of escape when the fire began.

Deadly blaze: 12-year-old Damian Clough was killed when two teenagers deliberately set fire to his home in Kinara Close, Keighley, West Yorkshire (pictured)Deadly blaze: 12-year-old Damian Clough was killed when two teenagers deliberately set fire to his home in Kinara Close, Keighley, West Yorkshire

Nasir Khan, 18, and a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had allegedly gone to the family home after sharing almost three litres of vodka-based WKD with friends.

Prosecutor Julian Goose QC told Bradford Crown Court that the youths let themselves into the house at around 9.15pm through the back door and made themselves at home, smoking cigarettes, helping themselves to cans of  Vimto and using the computer.

Damian’s mother Julie Clough, a part-time barmaid, had gone to work after giving her son his medication and putting him to bed, believing his older sister would soon be home to look after him.

But while Damian was asleep upstairs, two fires were started in the house, one to an armchair in the corner of the lounge and a smaller fire in the washing basket in the kitchen, the court heard.


Mr Goose said: ‘It is clear that these fires were deliberately set with two separate flames, one in the kitchen and the other in the lounge.’

Shortly afterwards, the defendants met up with their three friends again, each blaming the other for the fire, the court was told.

Devastatingly, flames engulfed the rented end-of-terrace property before anyone could save Damian, who died of smoke inhalation.

Shirley Crossley, who was babysitting her grandchildren next door, had noticed a smell of smoke and called the fire service who arrived just after 11.30pm.

Mr Goose said: ‘Fire officers gained entry to the house when they arrived and found it to be filled with black smoke and very high temperatures, so hot the fuse box melted.

‘The fire within the lounge had burned through the ceiling above into the  bedroom upstairs.’

Mrs Clough’s bedroom, which was above the fire, was heavily damaged by the  flames.

Fire officers discovered Damian dead in his bed, and the family dog laid dead outside the closed door of his bedroom.

Damian was severely autistic, with learning difficulties, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and suffered from extreme convulsions.

His ‘highly obsessive’ behaviour including shredding his mattress and wallpaper.

He couldn’t be left to sleep with his door open and he had broken off the internal handle. Mr Goose said his condition meant he was unable to react to any danger.

His mother, who was his main carer, never usually left him in the house alone, but she said had expected her daughter back soon.

Forensic examination concluded the fire was caused by a naked flame applied to  the combustible material of the armchair.

The jury were shown footage of the fire damaged property which revealed the  blackened rooms and smoke-stained walls of the devastated home.

Khan was arrested the day after the fire and his 17-year-old friend a day later. Both denied starting the blaze and blamed each other.

Mr Goose said: ‘With the support of the local authority, Julie Clough was trying to cope the best she could in an extremely difficult situation.

‘The fact remains, however, that when the defendants and their friends entered  the house, Damian was asleep and alone in his room from which he had no means  of escape.

‘The prosecution say that both these defendants caused the death of Damian Clough by acting together in setting a fire or fires inside the house and then escaping.

‘These two defendants were alone in the house when the fire started, and they left shortly one after the other.

‘The evidence will show that the fire was started deliberately. It burned slowly and created dense black smoke and poisonous gases which were left to accumulate for over an hour-and-a-half before the emergency services arrived, by which time Damian Clough had died.’

Mr Goose said it didn’t matter whether Khan and the other defendant knew that Damian was upstairs when the fire started, because it would have been obvious that a fire could cause harm to people.

The trial continues.

Read more:


  1. What saddens me the most about this incident is that it’s not even surprising to me anymore that young teenagers can do this sort of thing to someone else. Even if parents try to teach their children to be fair to other people, I know from experience that children and teenagers have a hard time accepting people who are very different, especially if they are more vulnerable, whether it’s someone who is obese, mentally ill, retarded or whatever else due to their inability to conform to social norms.

    Schools- especially the schools which aren’t run very well have a very “survival of the fittest” or “dog eat dog” environment which makes bullying much easier to do. Depicting a tough guy image is viewed as ‘cool’ and people who don’t have the guts to pick on someone their own size view vulnerable or disabled people as easy targets, because they’re less able to fight back or be taken seriously when they report what’s going on.

    At my former workplace, what my boss did was to say that boys who misbehaved to enhance their tough guy image would get a warning; any further misbehaviour and we’ll send their mothers to sit in the classroom with them for a day. It would totally ruin their image and that embarassment was often enough to help set them straight alhamdullilah. Even so though, vulnerable special needs kids aren’t getting anything even closely resembling the amount of support they really need.


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