Man jailed for Targo St unit fire
AN 18-year-old man who destroyed a unit by setting it on fire and started a blaze in a large area of grass was sentenced to two years in jail in the Bundaberg District Court yesterday.
Michael Neville James Seymour pleaded guilty to arson and setting fire to a patch of grass.
Prosecutor Jacob Robson said witnesses saw Seymour and two juvenile accomplices near the Targo Street unit when it caught fire about 2.30pm on October 11, 2009.
Mr Robson said Seymour, who was 17 at the time, initially denied lighting the fire before making a confession to the police.
“Seymour said he set some clothes pegs on fire on the chair outside of the home when the resident was not at home,” he said.
“He told police that he did not think it would burn the whole place down.”
Mr Robson said expert evidence suggested the fire started with some accelerant on a bed inside the home.
The fire in the unit caused about $80,000 in damage.
Mr Robson told the court that after being bailed Seymour had begun to brag to friends that he had got away with lighting a grass fire near Alexandra Park on August 7, 2009.
“Fire and rescue services were there for about 40 minutes and traffic on the Tallon Bridge was disrupted due to smoke and debris,” he said.
Defence barrister Simon Burgess said Seymour had not used any accelerant to light the unit fire.
“Being so young he lacked the insight of the serious consequences from his actions in lighting the pegs on the chair,” Mr Burgess said.
Seymour was in custody for an unrelated matter which is progressing through the Bundaberg Magistrates Court.
Mr Burgess said Seymour had the support of his mother and once released planned to look for a job.
Judge John Robertson sentenced Seymour to a concurrent sentence of two years for arson and three months for setting fire to the grass.
“I can’t ignore that the setting fire of the unit was for reasons relating to your lack of regard for the occupant,” he said.
“It may well have been initially intended to be a prank but the consequences were far more serious.”