Jail time for arsonist
AN ARSONIST who caused about $450,000 damage to two Ipswich businesses has been jailed for four years.
Justin James Stringer, 25, walked to the Polar Ice Company on Lobb St, Churchill on July 2 last year, broke into a storage trailer and set fire to some bed sheets.
He then left and watched the fire burn from across the road before walking home. Both the trailer and nearby fridges were completely destroyed, with about $411,000 in damage done.
Four days later, on July 6, Stringer broke into the West Moreton BMX Club and set fire to a shipping container and attempted to set fire to the canteen.
Ipswich District Court heard he used petrol and a lighter to start the blaze which destroyed everything in the trailer and caused about $40,000 damage.
Stringer pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of arson, two counts of entering premises with intent to commit an indictable offence, two counts of attempting to enter premises with intent to commit an indictable offence and one count of attempted arson.
Stringer also pleaded guilty to common assault after he took his baby from its cot without the mother's permission and dropped it on a footpath outside the home.
The court heard he had admitted the offences during a police interview on August 5.
West Moreton BMX Club president Lee Smith said while insurance covered some of the damage, the club still had to cop a $10,000 shortfall. He said a recent community gambling grant would help them get back on track.
"After the fire we couldn't race for two months because the start gate was destroyed," Mr Smith said.
"We had an open day in October and are almost back to normal."
Crown prosecutor John Copley said Stringer's offending, which was committed over the course of only a week, was an act of "complete, senseless and gratuitous criminality".
Defence barrister Steve Kissick said Stringer had ADHD, which meant he often acted impulsively without thought of consequences.
He said Stringer would be at risk in prison because of his condition, and had sought medication and counselling.
"He has made rapid gains in his coping and cognitive abilities," Mr Kissick said.
Judge Deborah Richards ordered Stringer be eligible to apply for parole on March 30, 2013, because of his early plea of guilty and other mitigating factors.
"I accept you're making efforts to control your behaviour, but at the end of the day, general and personal deterrence is necessary," Judge Richards said.