Shepparton News

Jail time for fire


- By Alex Mitchell

A man who burnt down a Shepparton home has received a lengthy jail sentence at the County Court.

Brody Matsen, 21, had earlier pleaded guilty to arson, burglary, theft and two counts of obtaining property by deception, admitting he had set fire to a Parker St property on April 9, 2019, after breaking in with three youths and stealing a number of items.

The court had earlier heard Matsen, who was 19 at the time, and three males aged either 14 or 15 went to the property — the residence of a school friend of the co-accused — knowing it was vacant about 3 am, entering through an unlocked window.

A number of items were stolen as the four males swept the house, with Matsen admitting he stole two Samsung tablets he would later pawn at Cash Converters.

It was heard Matsen suggested burning down the house, sprayed a bed with an aerosol can containing fly spray and lit the bed with a cigarette lighter, before yelling ‘‘run’’ when the blaze ignited.

Matsen went to Cash Converters twice later in the day, selling the tablets for $80 and $70.

Judge Michael Cahill noted the seriousnes­s of the offending, although he accepted ‘‘little or no thought’’ was given to it, remarking Matsen had used his own personal details when selling the items.

‘‘Your offending was serious — a home was destroyed,’’ Judge Cahill said.

Defence barrister Rohan Lawrence had asked that Matsen receive a combinatio­n sentence including prison time not exceeding the length he had spent in custody in pre-sentence detention.

He relied on Matsen’s guilty plea, his relative youth, his lack of criminal history, his disadvanta­ged background and the hardship of custody through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prosecutor David Cordy had asked for Matsen to receive a term of imprisonme­nt with a nonparole period due to the serious nature of the destructio­n of a family home.

Judge Cahill ultimately accepted Mr Lawrence’s submission and imposed a 201-day prison sentence — time already served — plus a 24-month correction­s order.

Matsen’s correction­s order will include treatment and assessment for drugs, alcohol and mental health along with programs to reduce his risk of reoffendin­g.

‘‘You need to understand this order won’t be easy,’’ Judge Cahill said.

Matsen will not be released from prison immediatel­y, as he remains in custody on other matters.

 ??  ?? Gutted: The Parker St, Shepparton, house Brody Matsen pleaded guilty to setting on fire.
Gutted: The Parker St, Shepparton, house Brody Matsen pleaded guilty to setting on fire.

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