FILE SHOT: emergency services Queensland fire and rescue department. Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail
FILE SHOT: emergency services Queensland fire and rescue department. Photo: Zach Hogg / NewsMail Zach Hogg BUN220714FAR3

'I'm burning the house down': Neighbour's fear after threat

A WITNESS heard their 52-year-old neighbour yell out "come get what you want. I'm burning the house down" before calling triple zero, a court has heard.

The words were uttered about the time Desmond Denton was setting fire to items on his verandah on October 21, 2017.

Denton pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton District Court on July 5 to one charge of endangering property by unlawfully setting fire to a table.

The crown prosecutor said when police arrived, they watched as Denton threw a blanket on a fire on the veranda of the Rockhampton house.

The court heard police approached Denton, who picked up a table and held it with the legs towards the officers.

One of the officers pulled out their Taser and warned Denton, who continued to charge at the officers.

The officer discharged the Taser but it was ineffective with Denton then locking himself inside a bedroom, placing a cupboard against the door.

Officers eventually took Denton into custody after deploying capsicum spray and Denton was taken to Rockhampton Hospital.

Defence lawyer Tony Arnold said his Adelaide-born client grew up with conflict and abuse, being told when he was young that his biological father may actually be his uncle - the brother of the man he thought was his father.

When he was seven, he was placed in a boys home until he was 12 where he was repeatedly sexually abused by a visitor to the institution.

He then went to live with his mother and left school to work at 14-years-old, getting his truck license at 18 and was a specialist crane operator until 2015 when he had an epileptic episode.

He is now on a disability pension.

Mr Arnold said at the time of the fire, Denton had depression on top of his medical issues which included shoulder and knee injuries and diabetes.

He said Denton's wife of six-years had told him their relationship was over, the lease on their rental property was over, and he "had a severe emotional reaction".

Mr Arnold said after the fire, Denton was diagnosed with adjustment disorder.

He and his wife have since reconciled their relationship.

Denton also attends Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Services regularly due to long term abuse of cannabis and amphetamines.

"It was a dangerous thing that you did," said Judge Michael Burnett.

"It had potential to cause significant damage."

Judge Burnett ordered Denton to a two-year prison term, wholly suspended and operational for four years as well as an 18-month probation period.



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