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.

3 responses to “Crime does not pay”

  1. Allan says:

    The following is an email exchange that followed this post which is self explanatory.

    Hi Allan,

    The other person who does not get a mention here is the Loss Adjuster – who happened to be me! I engaged Peter Hiscock. There were about 4 or 5 separate seats of fire.

    Your story about the gas jets is on the money. At least [name withheld due to County Court suppression order] had some ‘goonies’ as he refused to do it when “X” proposed this as the method; instead the petrol fueled fire nearly cost him his life.

    I am pleased this idiot [name withheld due to County Court suppression order] got convicted. [name withheld due to County Court suppression order] deserved to get some reduction as he actively assisted the police. Both Hiscock and the police did an excellent job, assisted also by the ‘switched on’ staff of the Alfred Hospital who felt [name withheld due to County Court suppression order] story about the motor bike exploding was too hard to believe and notified the police – [name withheld due to County Court suppression order] and the fire had until that stage never been connected. In fact the police then found [name withheld due to County Court suppression order]had never even owned a motor cycle, yet alone knew how to ride one and the whole story then unraveled despite the protestations from [name withheld due to County Court suppression order] however I was there on the day after the fire and there was still a lot of water to go under the investigation bridge !

    Cheers,
    David Pocket

    Thanks for your note David. I was not aware of your involvement otherwise I would have said so.

    My understanding was that the hospital were not helpful and that it was only by going in and speaking with them personally that they finally gave assistance.

    Are you happy for me to add a comment to the original post?

    Allan

    Hi Allan, yes that’s OK.

    From what I know, it was the hospital which originally ‘tripped’ to the fact [name withheld due to County Court suppression order] had not sustained his injuries in the manner claimed, hence they notified the police who then joined 2 and 2 together, but yes I understand that the hospital later was not very helpful – possibly not helped by the fact everyone believed [name withheld due to County Court suppression order] was going to die.

    Cheers
    David

  2. Cheryl Richardson says:

    Allan, I do not think anybody would have thought you were in favour of insurance fraud! It was a very balanced article and you were clear on your position.

    Keep them coming, we love them!

  3. mike mackender says:

    Having read these posts I must correct you
    The hospital did not notify the investigating police re [name withheld due to County Court suppression order]. It was the investigators themselves that rang around to all the hospitals that located [name withheld due to County Court suppression order] at the Alfred. The hospital staff (like all hospitals) were in fact unhelpful to the investigators. The false assertion that [name withheld due to County Court suppression order] burnt himself while refuelling a motorcycle was as per the ambulance report. It was as a result of excellent police work by the attending uniform police & detectives, and the painstaking work by the investigating detectives ( 3 only) that achieved this outcome. It was also the detectives that caused [name withheld due to County Court suppression order] to confess at interview stage & make a statement implicating the shop owner [name withheld due to County Court suppression order].

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