Crime does not pay
On the back of my post yesterday, I do not want anyone to think that I am in any way in favour of insurance fraud. I have in fact spent my entire working life fighting insurance fraud.
It was therefore with great interest that I read the article [link removed] from the Boxing Day edition (26 December 2016) of The Age following the case against two men, [name suppressed by County Court order] who was engaged to set fire to a pizza shop owned by [name suppressed by court order] in 2013. Unlike yesterday’s article this one I do have more information that what was reported.
What was not reported from the court case was that [name suppressed by Country Court order] had instructed his paid arsonist to turn on the gas jets despite the fact that 4 people were residing in a flat above the shop.
The issue with any arsonist is once you strike the match you do not know where the fire will spread to and what injuries or death could result. It is for this reason that at one stage arson was treated as a capital offence (that is one of the few offences subject to the death penalty).
Of course, the risk that arises when someone deliberately starts a fire is not only to those who live in or near the premises but also to the fire officers and the general public who may be injured or killed by fire trucks having to rush to the scene.
The other issue here is that [name suppressed by Country Court order] locked the arsonist inside the premises and the arson himself nearly burned himself alive. I understand that [name suppressed by Country Court order] smashed his way out of the building but due to the fact he had poured some petrol on himself, he sustained severe burns, he then made his way to a nearby car where[name suppressed by Country Court order] asked how it went. On learning that name suppressed by Country Court order was injured, [name suppressed by Country Court order] took him to a friends home where a teenage boy attempted to soothe the burns using sun-tan lotion, this of course was a completely ineffective treatment. In fact it was quite dangerous.
The unsung hero in this whole process was insurance investigator, Peter Hiscock, who initially identified that the owner of the premises was likely to be involved and tenaciously tracked down the arsonist and convinced him to provide a full confessional statement to police. The police too did a great job in obtaining not one but two convictions.
The law in Victoria has changed due to arsonists setting bush fires with a new criminal charge being introduced where arsonists endanger life, it is under this provision that Mr [name suppressed by Country Court order] and Mr [name suppressed by Country Court order] will be sentenced.
Final sentencing has not been completed as yet, it is scheduled for early February, but I am hoping for a long sentence as a deterrent to others who wish to put the lives of others at risk for their own financial gain, in this case potentially $760,000.