A Bowen man started a police siege after he poured petrol on himself and threatened to light himself and a house alight. Photo: File
A Bowen man started a police siege after he poured petrol on himself and threatened to light himself and a house alight. Photo: File

Bowen dad starts siege over threat to burn home and himself

A father has been jailed for starting a siege in Bowen after covering himself in petrol and threatening to light both himself and a house on fire.

The Bowen man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, got into an argument with the mother of his child in February so the woman left the Bowen home and stayed with family.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Emma Myors told Bowen Magistrates Court the next day the woman wanted some of her belongings, so the man then sent messages to her saying her things were outside on the lawn.

He also made threats to harm himself, as well as burn down the house, and sent her photos of a jerry can.

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Sgt Myors said the woman was scared so she called police and when officers arrived, a siege ensued.

The man had covered himself in petrol and threatened to set himself on fire.

In court on Tuesday, the 28-year-old man pleaded guilty to contravening a domestic violence order.

Lawyer Barbara Mendelsohn told the court the man had spent 69 days on remand for a previous offence in 2016.

On the day of the siege, the woman told the man she would get a police escort to pick up her things and Ms Mendelsohn said the man was worried he would be sent back behind bars.

"His mindset was that whatever happened was better than returning to jail," Ms Mendelsohn said.

Ms Mendelsohn said the man initially met police at the front gate but then slipped from their grip and ran into the house.

"Eventually he went and washed his face and arms, changed his T-shirt and gave himself up to police," she said.

A man threatened to set a Bowen house alight and started a siege with police. Photo: File
A man threatened to set a Bowen house alight and started a siege with police. Photo: File

The court heard the man was assessed by a doctor from the Mackay Mental Health Unit and then transported to the hospital, where he stayed for a week.

Ms Mendelsohn said the man and woman were parents to a 21-month-old child, and the man had recently reconnected with a son from a previous relationship.

The court heard the man became unemployed during COVID-19 but was in the process of gaining employment with Woolworths and had engaged a psychologist.

"He instructs that he is extremely remorseful but he also instructs that he panicked and had flashbacks to his time in jail in 2016, which he describes as the worst time of his life," Ms Mendelsohn said.

A man surrendered into police custody after a siege in February. Photo: Zizi Averill
A man surrendered into police custody after a siege in February. Photo: Zizi Averill

Magistrate James Morton noted the man had been given a jail sentence for his first breach of a domestic violence order in 2016.

"Here we are again, another woman has been traumatised by this person's conduct," Mr Morton said.

"This strikes at the very heart of a domestic violence order.

"He is abusing this woman emotionally by throwing petrol over himself and threatening to burn the house down.

"The courts consistently see people like you in it where you have put mothers, children, partners, spouses at risk."

The man was sentenced to nine months' jail and a parole release date was set for April 6 this year.

"If you do not get a message out of this, you never will," Mr Morton said.


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