William Leckie outside Mackay Courthouse.
William Leckie outside Mackay Courthouse. Janessa Ekert

Rental deal after Cyclone Debbie turns nasty

A PROSERPINE man was motivated by anger when he deliberately tried to set fire to a derelict boat.

William Leckie had struck an agreement with the boat's owners to rent a house, initially free of charge on the proviso he cleaned up the property after it was damaged during Cyclone Debbie.

Mackay District Court heard Leckie spent a month tidying the home and then found out the owners had sold it, forcing him and his wife to be out in 28 days.

Crown prosecutor Will Slack said Leckie first left abusive voice messages threatening to break their jaws. He then went to their home and threatened to burn it down.

The court heard Leckie returned to the Telford St rental house and flicked a lit cigarette into a trawler, kept at the property, causing internal damage.

The 48-year-old pleaded guilty to attempted arson in March last year.

Defence barrister Scott McLennan, for Leckie, said his client had been led to believe the rental agreement would be long term and may even result in a rent-to-buy arrangement.

"When my client learned the property had been sold and that they needed to vacate... he became enraged," he said. "In a fit of rage and unfortunately under the influence of alcohol he flicked his cigarette."

Judge Deborah Richards described the case as "somewhat unusual" but still very serious. However, she said it was not appropriate to send Leckie to jail. Instead he was convicted and handed an 18-month wholly suspended jail term.


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