Ice user’s ‘disturbing revenge’ attack backfires
HOMELESS and high on ice, an evicted mother set fire to the Sarina home she had rented from family in a "disturbing" arson attack that destroyed the property.
A neighbour found Carmen Leigh Shadbolt crying on the ground near a garden hose as smoke and flames billowed from a window.
Just before 6am on October 1 last year she rang 000 and said she had just returned to the Blakeley St home to find it already on fire.
But her lie unravelled when CCTV footage, captured by a nearby camera, showed the mother of three arriving home and the house was not alight.
Mackay Supreme Court heard Shadbolt rented the property from her mother and stepfather - and was living there alone - but had been told to leave after failing to keep the property in good order.
However, barrister Scott McLennan, for Shadbolt, said it was not right to label the scenario "a revenge arson".
"In the days leading up to the arson she was under a great deal of stress, which she handled poorly," Mr McLennan said.
Shadbolt had used ice two days before lighting the fire, had not slept in that 48-hour period and was not thinking clearly.
Mr McLennan said Shadbolt also lost all her belongings in the fire.
"She had been trying to get people to help her move … but no one would," he told the court.
But Justice David North said there were elements of revenge in relation to the blaze in that she resorted to arson after being told to leave.
The court heard the gutted home had to be demolished and rebuilt, with the total loss to the insurer just over $337,000.
A police investigation into the arson revealed Shadbolt was also a street level ice and ecstasy dealer.
Messages on her phone confirmed she had trafficked small amounts of the two drugs between September and October that year and attempted to source larger quantities.
The 39 year old, who has already spent 302 days in custody, pleaded guilty to arson and trafficking as well as six lesser charges.
Mr McLennan said his client, who cried during the sentencing hearing, had had a rough childhood after her parents split and came to live with her mother in Sarina following a traumatic event in her mid-teens.
She became addicted to ice through her last partner and was using daily "if she could get it" right up to the fire.
Justice David North labelled the offending as a "significant step up" from her prior criminal history.
Shadbolt was jailed for 4.5 years with parole eligibility on July 17 next year.