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Jail term for racist attack

A FATHER of two, who set an African-Australian woman's home on fire while in a drunken stupor, has been jailed for four years.

Sotiri Henry Margaritis, 36, was supported by friends and family as he pleaded guilty in the Brisbane District Court on Wednesday to arson.

He also pleaded guilty to going armed to cause fear and wilful damage for his behaviour in a park on the day before the arson attack.

On both occasions, Margaritis targeted African-Australians in Acacia Ridge, south of Brisbane.

The court heard Margaritis threw a brick at the front door of a woman's home on December 30, 2011, before returning three hours later.

He pulled her letter box down before he sourced a lawnmower in the carport, doused it with petrol and set it on fire.

Judge David Searles said the arson attack caused $78,000 worth of damage to the home on top of an uncalculated amount of damage to the property inside.

Margaritis claimed he went to the windows of the home before he started the blaze to check if anybody was at home.

But Judge Searles said that had "minimal impact" in his mind as the fire occurred just after midnight at a time when people were likely to be sleeping inside the home.

The prosecution said Margaritis's actions were deliberate, vindictive and put at risk the lives of three young children and their mother who were inside the home at the time of the blaze.

Judge Searles said the offence was committed in a state of inebriation.

The court heard Margaritis's battle with alcohol began when he was working in the mines in Mackay and Western Australia.

Margaritis was sentenced to four years jail and will be eligible for parole next April.

Topics:  arson brisbane brisbane district court


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