An ice addict described as having little impulse, control or rationality caused an extraordinary amount of damage with one foolish act.
An ice addict described as having little impulse, control or rationality caused an extraordinary amount of damage with one foolish act.

How addict caused $300,000 worth of damage

AN ICE addict who set fire to a Gold Coast shed caused $300,000 worth of damage when the blaze spread to two cars and the home nearby.

Matthew John Farley, 45, had broken up with his girlfriend three weeks prior and she was evicted from the Government Rd, Labrador home day.

Farley had his mother with him when he set fire to the shed about 6.30pm on December 6, 2018.

His mother did not know Farley had lit the fire.

The blaze was so powerful neighbours were forced to use garden hoses to protect their own properties.

A burnt out car beside the shed. Photo: Emily Halloran.
A burnt out car beside the shed. Photo: Emily Halloran.

His defence lawyers claim he was using ice at the time and it affected his impulse control, anger and rationality.

Farley pleaded guilty in the Southport District Court today to multiple charges including arson.

Judge David Kent sentenced him to two years and eight months prison with immediate parole release.

"Arson is an enormously dangerous thing - people can die," he said.

"This all happened when your mother was present and I hope you find this just as disturbing as others do."

Farley has been in prison since December 7, 2018.

The blaze destroyed the shed, the deck of the home, Farley's former partner's car and his own car.

Crown prosecutor Gary Churchill said Farley's former partner was evicted from his home that morning.

He said the pair had broken up three weeks earlier and Farley returned with his mother to retrieve his stuff.

 

 

Damage seen at the front of the property. Photo: Emily Halloran.
Damage seen at the front of the property. Photo: Emily Halloran.

Mr Churchill said at about 6pm neighbours heard Farley arrive and start to smash things in the shed.

"They heard him saying he was feeling pumped and heard more glass and items being smashed," he said.

Mr Churchill said neighbours also heard his mother asking to him to "stop it" before he suddenly stopped and they left.

Neighbours soon saw the smoke and called emergency services.

Mr Churchill said Farley later told police he dropped a cigarette in the yard.

Fire investigators found the fire was started with a lighter.

Farley's barrister Benjamin Dighton, instructed by Potts Lawyers, said Farley was "deeply regretful" of his actions.

He said Farley was using ice during the period leading up to the fire which affected his anger, impulse control and rationality.

Mr Dighton said while in prison Farley had obtained work in the kitchen and undergone a drug abuse course.

Originally published as How addict caused $300,000 worth of damage


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