Arsonist revelled in attention and drama during trial
A man jailed for setting his own house on fire and attempting to cash out on an “over insured property” policy revelled in the attention he got during the trial and was “rapt with attention” while watching his interview with police where he spun his “incredible story”.
Daniel Boyd Bromilow, 28, was sentenced on Tuesday, March 30, in Rockhampton District Court for one count each of arson and fraud after a jury found him guilty of the crimes in relation to a house fire in Naughton St, Wandal, on May 28, 2019.
Bromilow had increased his house insurance by $100,000 on April 4, 2019, and then fabricated documents and other items he alleged were parts of threats to himself and his house which he shared with his wife, Codey, and their daughter.
The alleged threats involved a family photograph with “burn property” written on the back, .22 calibre bullets scattered in Bromilow’s front yard, a white handled knife – later revealed to only be supplied to JBS meatworks – allegedly left on the front steps with a threatening note, a letter Bromilow claimed was left on his windscreen by an unknown person and a milk bottle fire bomb allegedly left on the front steps.
Prior to this, Bromilow made inquiries about the cost to build a four-bedroom home on his block and how much it would cost to demolish the wooden house which contained asbestos.
He also approached Rockhampton Regional Council about either swapping land or him being able to purchase the parcel behind his land at 6 Naughton St, Wandal.
Forensic analysis of his mobile phone showed he started Googling information about fire assistance hours before he allegedly found the photograph in his mailbox.
The Google searches continued on May 15 and included “make fire burn hotter” and “make fire burn hotter rather than faster”, and other fire related searches.
Crown prosecutor Samantha O’Rourke said not only were Bromilow’s actions motivated by greed, he also put his neighbours and emergency services personnel at risk by lighting the fire.
Judge Jeff Clarke said the risk was magnified by one of his neighbour’s being asleep at the time he ignited the fire, but luckily that neighbour’s family was home and able to wake the sleeping man and evacuate.
“There was a very strong, if not overwhelming prosecution case,” he said.
Judge Clarke said Bromilow “set out to hoodwink police and, indeed, his own family”, “systematically lied and denied” his offending and offered up other excuses.
“Your behaviour was clearly motivated by greed,” he said.
“You over-insured your own property. You lied to police about your motivation for that. You almost immediately followed through (with attempting to gain funds from insurer).
“Your persistence with this clear falsehood concerns me.
“I noticed throughout the trial you seem to revel in the false drama that you created.
“I noticed particularly that you were rapt with attention while watching yourself on the monitor while you were spinning your incredible yarn to police in the interview.
“You claim to be a Christian man. Your behaviour is entirely inconsistent with that belief system.
“There has been absolutely no acknowledgment of wrongdoing or expression of remorse.”
Defence barrister Michael Labone said Bromilow had since separated from Codey “and the future of that relationship is uncertain”.
He said his client now had a 14-month-old son with Codey, as well as their now four-year-old daughter.
Mr Labone said Bromilow had been living with his mother until the trial and had lost his job, along with his security licence, as a result of the charges from the house fire.
Bromilow had worked in security since getting his licence in 2011 and had previously worked in warehousing.
Mr Labone said Bromilow was diagnosed with high functioning Asperger’s when he was three years old and underwent cognitive behavioural therapy.
He said he had also been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and was undergoing treatment.
Mr Labone said Bromilow had strong prospects of rehabilitation.
Judge Clarke sentenced Bromilow to four years prison with parole eligibility as of March 30, 2023.
December 2018 – Bromilow purchased 50 rounds of .22 calibre ammunition.
March 3, 2019 – House fire on Wandal Rd.
March 2, 2019 – April 4, 2019 – Bromilow claims doorknockers visited his house and questioned if his insurance sufficiently covered a house fire, demolition and rebuild.
April 4, 2019 – Bromilow increased his house insurance from $240,000 to $350,000. His contents insurance remained valued at $53,000.
April 16 – First face-to-face meeting with Daniel Carr from Chris Warren Homes regarding rebuilding on 6 Naughton St, Wandal, block. Communication continued until May 22 with an agreement reached May 21 between Chris Warren Homes and Bromilow which included a $1000 deposit.
April 30 – Bromilow attended Rockhampton Regional Council regarding purchasing a block of land behind his house.
May 9, 2019 – Forensic examination of Bromilow’s mobile revealed he searched on Google about where to stay after a fire and assistance after a fire in the middle of the day. Hours later, at 8.30pm, Bromilow attended the Rockhampton Police Station with a photograph of himself, his wife Codey and daughter. The words “burn property” were written on the back in black ink.
May 14 – Bromilow calls police, claiming he found bullets scattered in his front yard.
May 15 – Bromilow Googled “how to make fire burn hotter”, “how to make fire burn hotter rather than quicker” and other fire related searches.
May 18 – Bromilow claimed he found a white envelope on his car windscreen under the wiper blade and it contained two copies of the same letter addressed to him – one he kept and the other he gave to police.
May 24 – Bromilow’s godmother Joanne Keevers visited, read the letter, answered Bromilow’s questions about how long it would take for his house to burn down and how long it would take for the fire service to respond. Ms Keevers once worked for Queensland Fire and Emergency Services for eight years as a communications officer. And he made the comment “it would do him a favour if somebody burned his house down”.
May 27 – Bromilow called police claiming he had found a knife and a note on his front steps.
May 28 – Around lunchtime, Bromilow claimed he found a petrol bomb in a plastic milk bottle on his front steps and he used a hose to wash down the steps in case fuel had seeped into the wood. A neighbour gave evidence they saw Bromilow packing items into his car that afternoon. Bromilow was the last person seen at the house and he left just after 3pm to pick his wife up from work and they went for coffee. They received a call from a neighbour saying their house was on fire.
May 30 – Bromilow contacted his insurance company about making a claim in relation to the house fire. He did not obtain any funds.