Homeless man lit fire ‘for warmth’

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury court told the man started fires at a South Bunbury home and in bushland near Bunbury Hospital.
Camera IconBunbury court told the man started fires at a South Bunbury home and in bushland near Bunbury Hospital. Credit: Graphic / South Western Times

A homeless man has told how he was trying to keep warm when he lit a fire at a South Bunbury home where he was squatting.

Torrin Shaun Reynolds, 43, also told Bunbury Magistrates Court on Thursday that he had been “neglected” by medical staff before going into bushland near Bunbury Hospital and flicking a cigarette, sparking another fire on November 10 last year.

The South Bunbury fire was lit three days earlier on November 7.

Reynolds appeared via video link from Bunbury Regional Prison last week when he pleaded guilty to one count of wilfully lighting a fire likely to injure or damage and another of failing to reasonably ensure an ignition source would not cause a fire that could not be controlled.

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The court was previously told that Reynolds had attended the hospital complaining about a sore foot, but when staff recognised him after he allegedly showered at the facility without permission on another day he was asked to leave.

Police prosecutors said Reynolds turned abusive towards staff and threatened to set fire to the hospital and nearby bushland.

In court last week, defence lawyer Ntuthuko Mcingolwane said some of the facts had been amended following negotiations with prosecutors.

Police arrested Reynolds on November 13 when he was seen by officers riding his bike along Ocean Drive in Bunbury.

Reynolds had to be pepper sprayed after he pushed his bike into police and tried to run away before a struggle with the officers.

Mr Mcingolwane said Reynolds had paranoid schizophrenia and felt he had been neglected by his guardians.

Reynolds was last week sentenced over obstructing police and six counts of stealing in relation to the theft of flavoured drinks and confectionery in several incidents at Puma Bunbury Parks petrol station.

He was fined $400 in total and Magistrate David MacLean ordered psychiatric and pre-sentence reports ahead of sentencing in the Bunbury District Court over the fire incidents.

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