Man faces trial in car arson case
A MAN allegedly seen breaking into a car before it became engulfed in flames in August last year has been committed to trial for arson.
Wayne Harris Maxwell Geoffrey Weymouth, who has been charged with arson and entering without permission, was identified by a number of witnesses at his committal hearing yesterday as an intoxicated man with blue jeans and a white T-shirt on the street where the car was found alight on August 28.
Eve Gardiner, who owned the car, told Bundaberg Magistrates' Court she had parked it outside her mother's house at Thabeban on the night of the arson.
After her mother alerted her to the fire about 9.15pm, Ms Gardiner called firefighters and police, as her mother got a hose to put it out.
Neighbour Angela Gesche and her partner John Olive were sitting on their patio enjoying a coffee just moments before the arson, and noticed the defendant “stumbling and staggering” down the road.
The two witnesses testified they saw Weymouth walk up to the vehicle, seemingly searching for keys, before entering the car.
“We thought he might have been the owner of the vehicle, we didn't know the daughter at the time,” Ms Gesche said.
“I couldn't see his hands but it looked like he was looking for his keys or something.”
Within five minutes of the couple entering their house, they heard a commotion and came out to be confronted by the burning vehicle.
Mr Olive said all he could do was focus on the car as he ran towards it because “I thought he (the defendant) was still in there”.
Another neighbour, Paul Zielke, said the defendant had turned up on his doorstep shortly after the fire began and asked to use their telephone to report it to emergency services.
Ms Gardiner said Weymouth had approached her while outside the house, watching the burning car, and asked “Is that your car? I'm so sorry”.
The defendant made no plea and the case was committed to district court.