An apprentice mechanic at a Sytner Audi dealership hanged himself after bullying by colleagues.
An inquest into the death of 18-year-old George Cheese heard how his workmates on one occasion locked him in a cage at the Reading dealership, doused him in a flammable liquid and set light to his clothes.
The Reading coroner was also told by Cheese’s mother that he had come home from work with a limp after being held on the ground and repeatedly punched in the thigh.
The teenager was found dead on April 9 last year, around six months after he started working at the dealership. He had been taking medication for mental health problems.
And on the evening before his death he had been pacing around his home repeatedly saying “I have to quit. I can’t go back there”.
But a manager at Reading Audi, in Berkshire, is reported to have called the workplace behaviour as ‘horseplay’ and ‘banter’. A colleague said Cheese took the pranks seriously and was ‘sensitive’.
The inquest continues.