THE then-owner of the Junction Hotel and his son have been found guilty of arson for gain over a fire that gutted the premises in 2014.
A jury of 12 in the Bendigo County Court on Thursday found Jozef Jansen, 65, and Remco Jansen, 42, guilty.
Jozef Jansen was also found guilty of obtaining property by deception for claiming more than $300,000 in insurance from APIA.
The verdict followed a seven-day trial which traced the series of events that lead up to the fire on June 9, 2014, the events on the day of the fire, and the actions of the two accused in the weeks and months after.
Jozef Jansen was granted bail and will return to his residence in Old Bar, New South Wales, to care for his wife who recently suffered a stroke.
Remco Jansen was remanded in custody.
Both men will appear at a directions hearing in the County Court in Melbourne on October 24.
Timeline of events:
2007: Jozef and Coby Jansen buy the Junction Hotel at Ravenswood for $152,000.
January, 2012: Junction Hotel placed on the market, listed for $280,000.
January, 2013: Junction Hotel closes its doors, Jozef and Coby Jansen continue living there.
June, 2013: Winemaker Scott Harrington approaches the Jansens with an offer to lease the hotel as a cellar door. Jansens sign a heads of agreement.
August, 2013: Michael Stevens approaches Jansens with an interest in buying the property, pays a $22,000 deposit. Jansens cancel lease deal with Scott Harrington.
January, 2014: Jozef Jansen insures the Junction Hotel for $250,000 with Australian Pensioners Insurance Agency, with $50,000 for the contents. The hotel was uninsured before this date.
February, 2014: Remco Jansen moves out of the Junction Hotel, and into a flat in Kangaroo Flat. His parents remain.
May, 2014: Commonwealth Bank issues Jansens a mortgage default notice of $128,789, to be paid in 14 days.
June 6, 2014: Michael Stevens cancels the deal before agreements were signed, after finding out about a VicRoads overlay that prevents substantial renovations to the property.
June 6, 2014: Coby Jansen books herself and Jozef into a motel in Moama for the night of June 9.
Events of June 9, 2014:
2pm: Jozef and Coby Jansen check in to a motel in Moama for the night. They take their dog Coco with them.
5.11pm: Jozef and Remco Jansen exchange texts. Jozef asks him: “What’s happening, still cold?” and says “I must be no good at this”. Remco says: “Want me to move it along?” and “See what I can do later”.
8.55pm: Jozef and Remco Jansen speak on the phone, and again at 8.58pm and 9.02pm. The content of their call is unknown.
Remco’s phone is traced to a south-facing cell from the Big Hill tower, in range for the Junction Hotel. But not in range for his Kangaroo Flat residence.
9.20pm: Firefighter Darren Eenjes spots the fire while driving past and pulls in to investigate. His wife, a then Bendigo Advertiser reporter, calls 000.
9.35pm: Jozef and Remco Jansen exchange text messages, Remco says there’s lots of sirens heading towards Melbourne, and “I heard total ablaze”.
Jozef tells him to delete the messages.
9.40pm: Pictures and article appear on Bendigo Advertiser website and Facebook page.
9.42pm: Remco Jansen’s friend Nathan Waddington messages him about the fire after seeing pictures on Facebook. Remco responds: “Bulls—t” and “really???”
9.50pm: A friend of Remco Jansen picks him up from his residence and drives him to the hotel.
11pm: Remco makes a statement to police. He claims Mr Waddington told him about the fire.
11.45pm: Echuca police take statements from Jozef and Coby Jansen in Moama. Jozef claims they were in Moama to go fishing.
June 10, 2014: Police arson chemist determines fire caused by faulty computer equipment in the hotel office.
June 11, 2014: APIA arson chemist inspects the site, determines cause was faulty powerboards in the hotel office.
June 27, 2014: Jozef Jansen receives $50,000 insurance payout from APIA. He receives further payouts at later dates, approaching $300,000.
September 17, 2014: Police gain a warrant to monitor phone calls of Jozef and Remco Jansen.
September 25, 2014: Remco Jansen interviewed by police, claims parents went to Moama for their 40th wedding anniversary. Says he did not leave Kangaroo Flat on June 9 until he was aware of the fire.
September 25, 2014: Police intercept a call between Remco and Jozef Jansen. Remco tells him about the police interview.
October 2, 2014: Detectives go back into the hotel to inspect the walls where pictures may have been removed. They notice an antique clock and a picture of Jansen’s deceased son is gone, and there is no indication they were on the wall during the fire.
October 4, 2014: Police trace a call between Jozef and Remco Jansen. They concoct a story about the picture and clock. Remco is supposed to tell police he had the pictures in storage because his parents were moving to New South Wales.
October 16, 2014: Police raid the residence of Jozef Jansen in Old Bar, New South Wales. They find the picture and clock in storage in a wardrobe.
October 16, 2014: Remco interviewed by police. He says he had the picture of his brother enlarged for his parents because all their pictures were destroyed by the fire.
November 1, 2014: Another intercepted call between the two, Remco realises he made a mistake about the picture. They try to concoct another story.
November 5, 2014: Jozef Jansen interviewed by police in Taree, New South Wales. He is told about the monitored phone calls and police suspicions.
April 3, 2016: Jozef and Remco Jansen are formally charged with arson.