House burnt down after former pals argued following a heavy night of weed, port, vodka and beer.
Two years ago, iconic surf writer, former pro surfer, creator of Rip Curl’s The Search campaign and fins-free pioneer, Derek Hynd, lost his house, a dog and most of his possessions, including a forty-year collection of writing, memorabilia a five-thousand dollar violin, and his surfboards, including the little five-eight Skip Frye fish from Litmus, in a deliberately lit fire.
Yesterday, Isaac Lehane, who is twenty-six and who lived with his girlfriend in a caravan on DH’s Myocum property, near Byron Bay, pleaded guilty to damaging property by fire worth more than $15,000.
Dive into the agreed set of facts (as reported by the GC Bulletin) and you get this.
DH and his kid Lochlan lived in a a refurbished shed. Outside Lochie’s bedroom were two unused gas canisters.
Lochie and Issac were on the piss and smoking weed on September 16, 2019, when they started to argue.
The argument, over petty little things initially, went south when Lochie started talking about the rent. Lochie told Issac he had to leave.
Issac and his girl went back to the van where he kept yelling. Lochie heard it and banged on the van door telling him to leave.
Issac came out with a metal pole. Lochie picked up a machete and said, “Are you seriously going to try to kill me? Are you going to die tonight?”
Lochie went back to his shed, took sleepers and was asleep by midnight.
Fifteen or so minutes laster, DH heard bottles dropping on the floor outside Lochie’s rom.
Issac lit on fire a piece of cardboard that was on a window covering a broken spot.
DH said he heard a pop before he saw Lochie flee his room with flames behind him.
DH called triple O (Australia’s 911). He saw Issac running towards the house screaming for Lochie.
DH went to the cops the next day and told ‘em he heard the van’s doors open and shut twice and said he suspected Issac might’ve started the fire after his fight with Lochie.
A weeks later, Issac spoke to the cops and told ‘em about the argument over the rent. Told ‘em he saw the fire and ran to warn Lochie and to rescue the dog.
On November 26, 2019, Issac told the cops his girlfriend probably did it. “I feel like she’s burned my best friend’s house down”. He also said she started the argument about rent.
On June 18, 2020, the girlfriend told the cops Lochie and Issac had been smoking weed “quite heavy” on the night in question and were drinking port, vodka and beer.
Girlfriend told ‘em Issac had a Zippo lighter and that he’d left the van and said he was going to burn DH’s joint down.
On November 4, 2020, Issac was arrested and charged.
Defence told the court Issac had a brain injury and mental health probs. Special circumstances, the event was spontaneous, real sorry about the dog, which wasn’t owned by DH, etc.
Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy acknowledged the bummer of precious boards, the excellent violin and so forth disappearing in flames but was concerned about how the dog died.
“The dog itself would have suffered a horrible death by suffering smoke inhalation or being burned to death,” Dunlevy said, describing the case as “a nasty offence with a significant impact”.
Issac Lehane was sentenced to two years in jail with a fourteen-month non-parole period, backdated to October 2.
If he keeps himself clean in prison, he’ll be eligible for parole in a little under a year.