Torching truck leaves man with scars and a big bill

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 09:00 08/03/2014

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A "moment of madness" from a Manawatu man has left him with more than physical scars - after torching a truck he now has a big reparation bill and will find it hard to get into other countries.

Daniel Jacob Wesche, 25, was sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday for arson and breaching a protection order.

In the early hours of August 22, Wesche got home to discover his car had been damaged.

After spending some time thinking about who might have done it, he left his house and walked to a nearby property with some matches and a petrol can.

Once at the property, he smashed the front, rear and passenger windows of a Mitsubishi L200 pickup truck, before pouring petrol into the truck and cabin. He then lit a match and threw it into the truck, causing a fireball to engulf the vehicle.

The fireball burnt one of Wesche's hands, leaving the skin scarred and fragile.

The owner of the truck had not damaged his car, the court was told.

The protection order charge came while Wesche was on bail for the arson charge. On November 21 and 22, he sent a text message to a woman he was banned from contacting. At the sentencing, defence lawyer Paul Murray said the offending came at the tail end of a relationship with the mother of his child.

"The relationship was turning quite toxic. They were relatively young parents and things got on top of both of them." He had also been abusing alcohol, using it as a coping mechanism, Mr Murray said.

"His life is in much more order now than at the time of the arson."

Mr Murray said Wesche's offending did not put anyone in immediate danger, apart from himself, as the truck was away from buildings and other vehicles.

Wesche was in a good job and studying at night to get qualified, and was looking to do a degree at Massey University.

Judge Gerard Lynch said the offending was a "moment of madness", and would have lifelong consequences past the burns on Wesche's hand.

"You will probably find trouble at any border around the world with a conviction like this."

While an insurance company waived the truck owner's excess, Wesche would still have to pay the company for the money it spent.

Judge Lynch sentenced Wesche to six months' community detention, nine months' supervision, 150 hours' community work and ordered him to pay the insurance company $2954.

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- Manawatu Standard

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