A MAN who torched his own Milltown house during a separation, causing $63,000 damage, has been jailed.
Bradley Dean, 41, of Waratah Crescent, Portland, appeared in Warrnambool Magistrate Court yesterday for a contest mention hearing.
He was charged with arson, three counts of breaching intervention orders, four firearms offences involving more than 200 rounds of ammunition and one charge of reckless conduct endangering serious injury.
Police alleged that at 9.50am on July 21 last year a fire broke out at a home on G. Hollis Road, Milltown. At the time Dean and his partner were estranged and a property settlement was under way. The mortgage for the property was in their joint names.
Another couple and their four children were staying at the home while other people were staying in a caravan on the property.
Prosecutor Senior Constable Kevin Mullins said there was evidence that all the adults had been drinking alcohol, there was a bonfire out the back and three children, aged between eight and 14 years, were asleep in the home.
He said just before the fire broke out it was alleged that a woman walked into the kitchen and was told by Dean to get her children out of the house.
She asked why and was told again to get the kids out. The woman said one element of the electric stove had been turned on, she woke up the children, took them out of the house and returned to see smoke in the kitchen.
The woman is alleged to have told Dean’s daughter to go and see what her father was doing.
There is also evidence from the woken children that two of them saw Dean putting pieces of paper on the hotplate.
When arrested Dean denied he deliberately set fire to the kitchen or that he told the woman to get her kids out.
Senior Constable Mullins said investigators found the fire, which caused $63,000 damage, was started at the stove.
He said Dean told police he was asleep at the time which was contradicted by all other witnesses.
In giving a sentence indication, Mr Saines said even if Dean pleaded guilty and showed remorse that no sentence other than imprisonment was appropriate.
He said such a sentence would not exceed three months’ imprisonment which would be followed by a community corrections order to address Dean’s issues.
Dean was jailed for three months and will have to serve a community corrections order to undertake 100 hours of community work when he is released from prison.