Epsom arson accused pleads guilty

A BENDIGO man has pleaded guilty to starting a fireball that destroyed an Epsom house in July this year.

Mick Whittle, 75, yesterday pleaded guilty to setting fire to the Strickland Street home he 

shared with his estranged wife on July 25.

Whittle’s wife and 16-year-old daughter were left with most of their possessions in ashes as flames engulfed the house.

In the Bendigo Magistrates Court, Whittle pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal damage by fire. He said he understood that the sentencing may take into account his guilty plea.

Judge Richard Wright ordered Whittle to face the County Court  on November 19 to enter his plea and later be sentenced.

Neighbours described the blast at the Epsom home as “like something out of the movies”.

Arson squad members attended the scene of the fire and heavy moving equipment was used to demolish the house so Country Fire Authority crews could completely extinguish the fire.

Whittle’s bail conditions were extended and he will have to continue reporting regularly to Bendigo police.  He is not allowed within 20 metres of his wife or daughter.

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