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

'Malicious' SA arsonist gets 12 years jail

AAP logoAAP 15/12/2016 Rick Goodman

A young man who got a "rush" out of starting bushfires and setting homes alight at the height of summer in Adelaide's south has been jailed for at least seven years.

Garry John Trestrail was on Friday given a 12-year jail sentence with a seven-year non-parole period for multiple counts of arson, causing bushfires and property damage he committed in January and February 2014.

The sentencing judge said it was lucky no one was killed or seriously injured in the string of fires, one of which burned for six hours and took 130 firefighters to control.

"But for the work of the volunteers the fire would have almost certainly spread to a golf course and housing estate," Judge Barry Beazley said.

"Lighting fires at the height of the bushfire season clearly exposed a lot of people to danger."

While some of the fires were opportunistic, Trestrail also targeted the homes of two people he held grudges against, including the home of a former employer who sacked him.

"They were malicious attacks," Judge Beazley said.

He torched the garage of Morphett Vale mother Lara Hildebrand while she and her three children were home asleep. He then showed up to help the family flee the fire.

"You felt a rush of gratification when lighting that fire," the judge said.

"When you turned up to her house and offered to help, she said you were excited."

Ms Hildebrand was in court for the sentencing, and she said she would rest easier now the case was finally over and Trestrail locked up.

She said the incident had lasting affects on herself and her children, including issues of trust.

"It took them a long, long time to trust that they were safe," she said.

But Ms Hildebrand said she now wanted to move forward and enjoy the summer.

"Because he's a rotten egg and it doesn't mean everyone is," she said.

Trestrail caused several bushfires in shrubs or parklands, started fires at several homes, set fire to industrial bins and set alight a row of palms trees during the week-long spree.

Judge Beazley said an immediate jail sentence was needed to keep the public safe and deter would-be arsonists.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon