Anger and revenge led man to burn down machinery shed

ANGER and revenge had been the motivation behind Pittsworth man Leigh Sutton burning down a neighbour's machinery shed.

Crown prosecutor Noel Needham told Toowoomba District Court the arson stemmed from an argument Sutton had with the shed's owner and employees.

A child of one of the workers had been playing with Sutton's children when Sutton's rottweiler set upon the child who, though taken to the hospital, suffered little injury.

An argument broke out between the parties and Sutton, of his own volition, had the dog put down, Mr Needham said.

However, afterwards an angry Sutton was heard saying the people from the shed would pay and that it would be the dog's revenge.

On the night of June 29, 2010, Sutton and an accomplice had taken fuel to the shed and set it alight, destroying the shed and machinery inside to a value of about $158,000.

The property was insured for just $140,000, Mr Needham said.

With his wife and five young children looking on in court, Sutton, 34, pleaded guilty to arson.

Sutton suffered a number of mental health conditions and the matter had been delayed due in part to his case being put before the Mental Health Court.

His barrister Scott Lynch said his client's irrational thought processes had led to the incident.

His client was being treated for ongoing mental health issues, he said.

Accepting Sutton had spent 104 days in pre-sentence custody, Judge Brian Devereaux sentenced him to 3½ years jail but ordered the term be suspended after he had served 12 months.


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