Man ignites ex partner's lawn

A TEENAGER who set fire to the front lawn of a home where his baby, ex-girlfriend and six others were sleeping faced Bundaberg District Court yesterday.

Reece Christopher Griffin, 19, pleaded guilty to one charge of endangering a property using fire.

Crown Prosecutor Greg Cummings said Griffin, who was 18 at the time, found his 17-year-old ex-girlfriend at The Central Hotel on March 29. She had been speaking to a man and was dancing with another, and the pair had several verbal arguments before he “pulled her from the dance floor”.

They later encountered one another on Bourbong Street and the defendant told the girl; “You better watch where you sleep tonight,” which he denied saying.

The girl went back to her Elliott Heads Road home and Griffin stayed with friends at a residence about 300 metres away.

The court heard about 6am, the girl’s mother noticed flames on the brick front steps of the wooden home and a strong smell of petrol.

Occupants of the home where Griffin was staying said the defendant had arrived puffing around the time of the incident and they noticed their four-litre petrol tin was missing and “mysteriously appeared” later.

Police located the defendant at the home that morning and found traces of petrol on his shoes and two Bic lighters in his pockets.

“This has all the hallmarks of a poorly thought-out impulse... which could have had very serious and deadly consequences,” Mr Cummings said.

Defence barrister Mark Johnson said his client was intoxicated at the time of the offence and he had no other criminal history.

“The potential for damage is something Mr Griffin now, in the sober light of day, is very, very aware of,” he said.

“In my submissions it was more likely some confused scare tactic rather than an attempt to cause harm.”

Mr Johnson said the incident was fuelled by alcohol, the recent death of the defendant’s sister and conflicts about the care of Griffin’s child.

Judge Keith Dodds said the behaviour was “disturbing” and sentenced Griffin to a suspended 12-month jail term saying, “What you did on the night in question was monumentally stupid.”

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