Mate's car set on fire to hide fact it had been in a crash

A MAN has pleaded guilty to stealing his friend's car, crashing it and then setting it on fire in his driveway to hide the evidence.

Shannon John Dobson, 25, yesterday pleaded guilty at the Ipswich District Court to unlawful use of a motor vehicle, arson and wilful damage.

The court heard on February 25 Dobson was staying at a friend's house in Fernvale.

While he was staying at the house he took his friend's car without permission.

While driving the car he crashed it into a parked car.

He drove the damaged car back to the house and, in an attempt to hide the evidence, set the car on fire.

The fire gutted the car, worth an estimated $2500, and burnt the garage door and the driveway.

Dobson, who is living in Toowoomba while on bail, initially denied any involvement in the theft of the car or its arson.

The matter was set for a trial before he changed his plea to guilty last week.

The court heard the owner of the car had only obtained the car recently before the incident, via a swap, and was planning on doing it up in order to sell it.

There was no attempt at insurance fraud, and the fire didn't threaten any people.

The Crown prosecutor called for Dobson to receive a two to three year prison sentence, with a parole release date after serving a third.

According to defence lawyer Matthew Fairclough, Dobson struggles with manic-depression and was off any medication at the time of the incident.

The matter was adjourned by Judge Sarah Bradley in order to obtain a mental health pre-sentence report.

Topics:  arson ipswich district court unlawful use of a motor vehicle

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