Matthew Jon Andersen, 35, outside the Maroochydore Courthouse in 2011.
Matthew Jon Andersen, 35, outside the Maroochydore Courthouse in 2011. Cade Mooney

Convicted arsonist throws petrol bomb at family's house

"TAKE this you dog bastard!"

That was what Matthew Jon Andersen, 35, shouted down a dark empty Bargara street before hurling a petrol bomb at his aunt's house.

The District Court at Bundaberg yesterday heard the attempted arson was far from Andersen's first crime.

He has pleaded guilty to a number of serious offences in previous years including enter premises and arson in 2011, for which he was sentenced to four years in prison suspended after 16 months.

The father has also previously been before the court on assault occasioning bodily harm and wilful damage charges.

In court yesterday, Andersen pleaded guilty to one count of attempted arson - a charge that arose after his motorbike went missing from his home.

The court heard Andersen thought his cousin, who was living at his mum's with his six-year-old at the time, had taken the bike.

As animosity between the pair grew, Andersen's partner of 10 years called his cousin and demanded the motorbike be returned, referencing the man's young child.

A few days later, on March 27, Andersen drove past his aunt's house (where both his cousin and the child were staying) and yelled threats out the window.

He returned about 11pm, shouted "Take this you dog bastard," and threw a home-made fire bomb over a fence and into the family's front yard.

The bomb hit the ground with a bang and exploded.

As the lawn caught fire, Andersen's cousin ran out of the house and was able to extinguish the blaze, although not before smoke from the bomb damaged parts of the house.

Anderson's Defence lawyer said he'd never wanted to set the house on fire, and only intended to cause a bit of damage.

This argument was supported by the great distance he threw the bomb from, which defence said made his intentions to damage, not destroy, clear.

But Judge Katherine McGinness disagreed, saying the distance made things more serious, not less, given the bomb could have landed just about anywhere if Andersen couldn't see where he was throwing it, including inside the house if it had smashed through a window.

The court heard Andersen had abused drugs in his past and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in recent years.

Some time after throwing the molotov cocktail, Andersen was taken into custody, where he has remained for 212 days. As a result, he has missed the birth of his youngest child earlier this year.

Andersen was sentenced to two years in prison with a parole eligibility of December 22.



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