You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

$4m firebug sentenced to 14 years in Vic

AAP logoAAP 11/10/2016 Melissa Meehan

A "dangerous" Victorian firebug caused almost $4 million damage over six years, derailing a train, cutting rail communication lines, putting debris on tracks and lighting fires.

Nicholas Archer's crimes appeared to be linked to self-gratification County Court Judge John Smallwood said as he sentenced the Waterford Park man to 14 years jail with a nine-year minimum.

The judge said Archer, who has never explained the reasons for his actions, knew he would likely be called to help with train problems due to his job at Metro Trains, or fight the fires he started as a volunteer with the CFA.

Archer, 28, was a "very dangerous member of the community", Judge Smallwood said on Tuesday.

"The crimes were conducted consciously and deliberately."

The County Court heard Archer caused $3,979,000 worth of damage in the incidents that began in November 2009 when he set fire to the Newport Steam Rail Museum after being told he was too young to work there.

Archer went on to target Melbourne's rail network, private farmland and even his own Victorian fire station between November 2009 and February 2016 .

He destroyed 100-year-old train carriages, caused commuter chaos and betrayed the trust of his fellow volunteers including a Black Saturday survivor, the judge said.

Archer placed debris on suburban train tracks, including a scooter in July 2015, and would then be called to fix the trains and clear the tracks because of his job as a recovery officer at Metro Trains.

In November, he derailed a train at Hurstbridge putting the lives of a cleaner and security guard at risk.

Archer also cut communication wires at a number of Metro Trains control rooms.

He also started numerous grass fires with sparklers and cigarette lighters between December 2015 and February this year.

Starting a fire at a Yarraville used tyre factory ultimately led to his arrest in February this year.

Archer then made a full admission to police about his offending and even helped re-enact some of the crimes he was charged with.

His only explanation to police was that he "wasn't thinking straight".

He later told a psychologist the derailment at Hurstbridge was a suicide attempt, but that was rejected by the judge.

Archer showed little emotion as he sat in the dock and was sentenced.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon