Volunteer firefighter jailed for lighting 18 grass fires

Volunteer firefighter jailed for lighting 18grass fires

2 February 2007

published by www.news.com.au

Australia — A Volunteeer Sunshine Coast firefighter who pushed his brigademates to the point of exhaustion by lighting 18 grass fires in less than twoweeks was behind bars last night after pleading guilty to 25 offences.

David Barry Caskey, 36, was finally outed yesterday as the notorious BelliPark firebug who had started a series of bushfires in and around the Kenilworthdistrict in 2004 which eventually prompted a widespread police investigation.

Standing quietly in the dock of the Maroochydore District Court, Caskey wassentenced to concurrent two-year jail terms after pleading guilty to one countof arson involving his own car, three indictable offences of lighting fires and21 summary counts of offences under the Queensland Fire and Rescue Act.

He will be eligible for parole after serving three months.

The court was told that Caskey, who had psychiatric problems stemming fromchildhood abuse, had lit the fires because they gave him a sense of control.

Crown prosecutor Nicola Crutchley said Caskey – a member of the KenilworthRural Fire Brigade – had wanted to “get even” with the chief fireofficer of the Belli Park Rural Fire Brigade, Nigel Higgs, as well as others hebelieved had owed him money from his grass-slashing business.

In sentencing Caskey, Judge Keith Dodds said: “The fires were lit togive him (Caskey) a sense of control in his life. The fires were a symbol of hisrage.

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