Jacob Ainslie (right) with a friend, enters Ipswich Courthouse to be sentenced after he pleaded guilty to arson of a Booval house in May 2016. His sentence was adjourned and Ainslie remanded in custody.
Jacob Ainslie (right) with a friend, enters Ipswich Courthouse to be sentenced after he pleaded guilty to arson of a Booval house in May 2016. His sentence was adjourned and Ainslie remanded in custody.

Serial arsonist gets more jail time

A YOUNG Ipswich man has been convicted and sentenced for his fourth offence of arson, with his crimes causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and destroying lives.

An Ipswich judge has ordered the serial arsonist to serve his jail term alongside an existing sentence for the same type of offending.

Jacob Francis Ainslie, 22, appeared from jail via video link to plead guilty to three counts of arson.

Ainslie admitted to wilfully setting fire to townhouses at Booval on November 26, 2017; and a house in North Ipswich on May 29, 2018; and entered premises and stealing at North Ipswich on May 29, 2018.

Crown prosecutor Amanda Robinson did not read any of the facts on to the record.

Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC disclosed a few details, but the Queensland Times had to pay money to ‘buy the agreed facts on record’ to ensure accuracy.

Ms Robinson said two of the offences at Booval were committed by Ainslie while on bail for arson charges.

House fire on Fitzgibbon St, North Ipswich, on May 29, 2018.
House fire on Fitzgibbon St, North Ipswich, on May 29, 2018.

A victim impact statement written by one of his fire victims, businesswoman Sonia Woollie, was tended.

Defence barrister David Jones tended two certificates from Alcoholics Anonymous on behalf of Ainslie.

He sought immediate eligibility to begin his application for parole.

Judge Horneman-Wren said the circumstances of the arsons were very concerning.

He said the first fire destroyed a townhouse under construction by a building company causing a loss of more than $100,000, while a second fire caused significant damage to another townhouse.

Judge Horneman-Wren said he sentenced Ainlsie in 2018 for an arson at Booval in May 2016, and gave him the benefit of immediate parole having served three months in jail. He then reoffended two months after his release.

He said the owner of the third property suffered emotionally, psychologically and financially with a $100,000 loss. She had no insurance.

“Mr Ainslie you are a man of some intelligence and have been in custody now over two years. You have pleaded guilty and demonstrated a level of co-operation and your offer made in relation to a person who may be a co-offender in North Ipswich,” Judge Horneman-Wren said.

“I have concerns about your rehabilitation, Mr Ainslie. Steps taken in jail do offer some hope.

“You need to be deterred.”

Ainslie was sentenced to four years jail and to concurrent terms of two and a half and two years. They will be served concurrently with his existing sentence. He is eligible to apply for parole immediately.

The Crown facts reveal Ainslie and a 15-year old youth entered a Booval construction site in Alexandria St at night on November 25, 2017. A separate fire was lit to the neighbouring unit that caused extensive charring and damage to walls.

Investigators concluded that a can of spray adhesive caused the fire. The damage cost the company more than $100,000.

Another victim was real estate agent Sonia Woolley who was building in Fitzgibbon St at North Ipswich to use as part of an accommodation business.

She lost more than $100,000 as it was not yet covered by insurance.

A co-accused charged in regard to the arson offences is yet to face Ipswich Children’s Court.



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