Tenant attempts to burn house down
STEVEN Risk told a neighbour he would burn down his rental house because he had caused so much damage he wasn’t going to get his bond back.
A few hours later smoke was coming from the house.
Yesterday a Rockhampton court heard Risk’s neighbour had told police what Risk allegedly said when they were called to investigate the fire.
Another neighbour told police she saw Risk running up the back stairs at the time of the fire.
But Risk, 52, claimed he was asleep at the time – something firefighters could back up because they had to wake him during the fire.
Fire and Rescue crews were able to put out the blaze coming underneath the Macfarlane Street house by 1.10am on February 1 before it caused too much damage.
Police prosecutor Barbara Barton said neighbours called in the fire brigade when they heard smoke alarms going off.
“He (Risk) said he was going to burn the house down because he was getting evicted and caused so much damage he won’t get his bond back; if he burnt the house down, he would at least gets his bond,” she said.
Ms Barton said $1689 in restitution was sought for the smoke damage to walls.
Risk was originally charged with arson, but that charge was changed to wilful damage yesterday.
He pleaded guilty in Rockhampton Magistrates Court to the lesser charge and a separate charge of possessing a knife in public on January 30.
Defence solicitor Brian McGowran said it was not Risk’s intention to burn down the home and he was asleep at the time.
Mr McGowran said Risk was “extremely intoxicated” at the time and believes he had been earlier burning his ex-housemate’s items.
Risk served one month in custody when he was charged with arson, but that time could not be declared yesterday.
He was fined $750 for the wilful damage, $200 for possessing a knife and ordered to pay restitution.