Groom Charged With Setting Best Man on Fire After He Paid for Wedding

A British groom set his best man ablaze and then stole his safe containing $60,000 six weeks after marrying, a court heard.

Wayne Barnes, 27, was said to have beaten John Maynard, 37, mercilessly and left him to die in flames.

Dad-of-two Maynard’s injuries were so severe he had to have both legs amputated below the knee and lost most of the fingers on his left hand.

His skull was fractured and he suffered brain damage.

The wheelchair-bound removal firm boss told a jury: “I thought I was dead or very close to it. I was trying my best to stay alive so that I would be able to say goodbye to my boys before I went.”

Barnes was said to have fled in his victim’s sports car, stealing his cell phone to call escort agencies while on the run, before police caught him.

Maynard was found with burns over 40 percent of his body and barely alive in his apartment last October 28.

He had been best man at Barnes’s wedding — which he paid for — six weeks earlier, Hove Crown Court, East Sussex, heard.

Barnes subsequently came to stay with him after fighting with his new wife, Melissa. The two men went out drinking with friends, but Maynard returned to his home in Littlehampton, West Sussex, and went to sleep.

He told the court he was woken later by Barnes shouting at him.

“That person — I can’t say his name — was screaming, ‘Give me your money,’” Maynard said. “I have never seen anything like it in my life.”

Maynard claimed that he was hit repeatedly then his clothes were set on fire.