Geelong Advertiser

‘No.1 fire risk’ released

DETENTION ENDS: Magistrate frees arsonist and animal killer


A TEEN arsonist with 129 priors has been released on a youth attendance order, despite breaking his four previous orders.

Police had previously said the 15-year-old was the region’s No.1 fire risk, took up 60 per cent of the Geelong Youth Tasking Unit’s time, had no respect for authority and had told workers he liked to choke animals and feel “the last breath they take”.

He was refused bail twice in the lead-up to yesterday’s plea hearing after separate magistrate­s ruled he was an unacceptab­le risk to the community.

The teen smiled as the magistrate told him his more than month-long detention was over.

He pleaded guilty to theft, criminal damage and four counts of breaching court orders. The offences included lighting a fire at North Shore train station, vandalisin­g a school and throwing rocks at a V/Line train, where his 14-yearold brother was a co-offender.

A Victorian Children’s Court had previously heard the teen’s history included 22 warrants for his arrest and 129 priors, including for animal cruelty and bestiality.

A lawyer for the Department of Human Services said the teenager’s previous youth supervisio­n and youth attendance orders were due to expire in April, July, October and December.

“I’ve had a long think about it now. I’ve had enough,” the teen yesterday told the court.

The magistrate warned him he risked further time in youth detention if he didn’t turn his life around.

When asked to keep out of trouble, the teen responded, “I will”.

According to the Department of Human Services web- site, a youth attendance order is a “direct alternativ­e to being locked up”, which gives the offender “the opportunit­y to work through the things that have caused [them] to get into trouble”. Three out of the four penalties listed for breaking the order include “a warning” from staff.

The teen’s siblings celebrated as they left the courtroom.

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