Editorial: A just outcome for a series of incomprehensible crimes

WHAT on earth would possess two grown men to go around lighting fires during a stinking hot summer at the zenith of bushfire season?

Arsonists Ricky Mackay and Corey Deveraux were yesterday sentenced in the Bendigo County Court to substantial jail terms for their crimes.

It was a just outcome considering the 19 fires the duo were responsible for lighting in and around Eaglehawk over summer caused such damage and concern.

During their reign of terror, the two firebugs had an entire community on edge, wondering where and when they were going to strike next. Their trail of destruction claimed the Bendigo Baseball Association clubhouse at the Albert Roy Reserve at a cost of $550,000.

Future Employment Options and the Rotary Club of Eaglehawk also fell victim to the arsonists’ actions, as well as private property owners. All told, their fire-lighting spree caused damage totalling some $850,000. But even that astronomical figure cannot account for the true cost of their incomprehensible actions.

All the time and effort on the parts of numerous people that went into building up those facilities, each of which play a vital role in the community, went up in smoke.

Of course, it could have been even more devastating. It is both a miracle, and a credit to the Country Fire Authority, that given the prevailing weather conditions at the time, none of the 19 fires the duo admitted to setting got seriously out of control.

The risk to life and limb was immense. Not just for people within the Eaglehawk community, but also those tasked with fighting the blazes.

Of all the senseless property offences committed in this city every year, none are more difficult to comprehend than arson attacks.

While some might dismiss graffiti attacks on public buildings as the senseless acts of bored or directionless individuals, arson is on a whole different level. 

Unfortunately, at the conclusion of the legal proceedings, we are no closer to understanding what drove these two to do what they did.

All we can say is that Mackay and Deveraux should consider themselves very fortunate that no one died as a result of their actions, or they would have had considerably longer in jail to mull over their crimes.

- Ross Tyson, deputy editor

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