Man douses car in fuel, threatens to set himself alight
APPEARING in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court recently, a man has been placed on probation after he attempted to set himself on fire while sitting inside his partner's car.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of contravening a domestic violence protection order for the aggrieved, who is the man's spouse.
On October 3, the defendant arrived at the house where the aggrieved lives, took her mobile phone out of her handbag and started looking through her messages.
She asked the defendant to return her phone repeatedly but he refused.
Sometime later the defendant, while still holding the aggrieved's phone, went to where her vehicle was parked and started pouring fuel throughout the inside of the car, before hopping in and locking himself inside.
Taking a lighter and attempting to set himself on fire inside the car, the defendant told the aggrieved "I'm broken - I can't take this anymore."
After attempts to unlock the car, the aggrieved was eventually able to open one of the car doors, but the defendant threw the phone from the vehicle and drove off.
QUEENSLAND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES
Continuing to message the aggrieved throughout the day and night, the defendant attempted to arrange a place where the pair could meet, telling her "life is nothing if it's not with you - I can't do it anymore and I have nothing to live for."
Police were called and later found the defendant and the car at another property and transported him to Bundaberg Hospital for treatment.
Days later on October 5, the man attended the Bundaberg Police Station and spoke with police, telling them he was responsible for his actions but felt unhappy at the time as he believed the aggrieved was not being faithful to him.
Later that month on October 18, Bundaberg police and the dog squad were conducting neighbourhood inquiries in relation to a reported disturbance in the area where the aggrieved lived.
Upon attending the dwelling, police found the defendant carrying a mattress into the house. As they approached him, he dropped the mattress, walked into the property and attempted to hide.
Police arrived at the front doorway of the house, introduced themselves and saw the defendant crouched down and hiding in the corner of the room, before getting to his feet and walking into a nearby room.
He told police he was aware the order stated he could not be within 100m of the property but wanted to see his children.
Referring to the defendant's previous criminal history, police prosecutor Senior Constable Tina Bland said he last appeared before the court in 2015 for unrelated drug charges and for like natures offending in 2000, when he breached a probation order.
Senior Constable Bland said it may be beneficial for the defendant to address any underlying health issues and suggested he be placed on probation.
The court heard the defendant and the aggrieved share four children together, two of which still live at the same address as the aggrieved.
His defence lawyer said the first offence involved self-harm and the second occurred after the aggrieved invited him over to spend time with their children, but no domestic violence had occurred during the incidents.
Magistrate Andrew Moloney said while he considered the defendant's dated criminal history, the offence was alarming.
"This offending is concerning, particularly the matter of the attempted self-harm and I did make some comments during submissions about (it being) emotional manipulation," the Magistrate said.
"The main thing here is you were struggling to cope and you were acting out in ways that could have been devastating to your partner and your children had you followed through."
Placed on probation for 12 months, the defendant was read the conditions, including the requirement that the defendant must submit to psychological, psychiatric and medical treatment as directed by his probation officer and attend the men's behavioural change program.
Magistrate Moloney said if the defendant successfully completed probation, no conviction would be recorded.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or DV Connect on 1800 811 811.