'Anger' and 'revenge' motives for fiery warning

KEVIN Douglas Anderson only meant to teach "Leroy" a lesson but what he ended up with was a burnt-down house and a year in jail.

The 19-year-old had been squatting in a rundown home on Princess Street in Bundaberg when he got into a stoush with a man over stolen grog.

Anderson, who was sentenced in the Brisbane District Court yesterday, approached the squatters' residence under the darkness of night on October 31, 2011.

He told police he checked to see nobody was home before going into a bedroom, sticking a pen in a mattress and setting it on fire.

Crown prosecutor Glen Cash told the court Anderson claimed he only wanted to burn the mattress to give "Leroy" a warning.

"The defendant was motivated by anger and some desire for revenge," he said.

Anderson then fled the scene but turned himself in to police two and a half months later and confessed to the blaze.

Mr Cash said Anderson told police: "I was trying to give him a warning; I was coming for him, I was trying to scare him".

After flames consumed the house, Anderson told police he "felt like s***t".

"I wish I didn't do it because I could have killed or hurt someone really badly," Anderson told police.

Mr Cash said the owners of the house put in a $212,000 insurance claim, which had not been paid out.

Anderson also pleaded guilty to unrelated theft-related offences, including stealing cash and a stereo from a car in Bundaberg.

Anderson, who had been in foster care throughout his teenage life, told police he was looking for food and money.

He was sentenced for wilful damage for kicking and damaging glass doors at a hostel after finding out his pregnant girlfriend had been assaulted in January, 2012.

The defence argued Anderson had an intellectual disability that should be taken into account during sentencing.

The court heard Anderson ran away from foster care at age 17 and was homeless at the time of the fire.

The defence submitted Anderson wanted to help his girlfriend raise her child, which Anderson was not the father of.

Judge Anthony Rafter sentenced Anderson to three years jail, to be released on parole tomorrow.

Anderson had already spent almost a year in custody. He was placed on a probation order for the other offences.

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