Jail for setting rental ablaze

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2014

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A Hawera man who set fire to the house he was renting won't have to worry about a roof over his head for a while because he'll be in jail.

Billy-Joe Adam Healy, 31, unemployed, was sentenced in the Hawera District Court on Wednesday to 2 years' jail after admitting a charge of arson. The offending occurred on August 27 while Healy lived in Sutton Pl .

Judge Allan Roberts said the defendant had been drinking heavily that day and following a phone conversation with a former partner he became angry.

Healy smashed his telephone, television and stereo before setting fire to a nylon tent which was in the lounge.

Judge Roberts said after Healy watched the fire spread to the curtains he ran to the bedroom to retrieve some personal items before leaving the house.

Healy told police he had thought about putting the fire out "but then thought, nah", the judge said.

Crown prosecutor Andrew Britton said there was a high level of premeditation involved in the offending.

It had caused $215,000 damage to the property.

The Crown sought a prison term of three years and three months for the offending.

Healy's counsel Julian Hannam said his client was remorseful for what had happened and had entered an early guilty plea.

"He has done it and has to bear the consequences," Mr Hannam said.

Judge Roberts said Healy had 69 previous convictions.

These included 38 previous terms of imprisonment.

He also had a past conviction for wilfully setting fire to property in November 2001 for which he was jailed for 10 months.

Judge Roberts said the aggravating factors in the offending included the premeditation, the extent of the loss and Healy's previous conviction for similar offending.

Because of Healy's lack of means, no order was made for reparation.

"Reparation, unfortunately, is not a viable proposition," the judge said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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