The boarding home in Kent Street where a fire occurred on Saturday.
The boarding home in Kent Street where a fire occurred on Saturday. Adam Wratten

Accused arsonist weeps in court

LITA Freeman set alight the curtains to her partner’s home in retaliation after an argument, a Rockhampton court heard yesterday.

The man was asleep at the time of the alleged incident in a room at a Kent Street boarding home on Saturday, but quickly awoke from the smell of smoke.

A neighbour alerted authorities to the blaze.

The fire was put out quickly, leaving only scorch marks on the window frame and walls.

Yesterday Freeman, 51, appeared in Rockhampton Magistrates Court after spending two nights in police custody. She sobbed quietly in the dock, her arms folded tightly to her chest.

She was charged with one count of arson, but was not required to enter a plea.

Freeman was granted bail with certain conditions, one of which was that she live with her brother.

Her defence solicitor, Shayne Studdert, said she was reacting to an argument she had with her partner earlier.

This was just one of the incidents which sparked Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten to call a meeting with police to discuss the rising level of crime and how to tackle the issue.

He said complaints about problem public behaviour and street violence were higher now than at any other time in the past 20 years, with the majority of complainants blaming much of it on a dysfunctional element of the community.


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