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SA court hears impact of arson attacks

AAP logoAAP 25/07/2016 By Michael Ramsey

Victims of a series of arson attacks across suburban Adelaide have been left "emotionally and physically drained" by the fires, a court has heard.

Garry John Trestrail, 26, has pleaded guilty in the SA District Court to multiple counts of arson, property damage and causing bushfires across Adelaide's southern suburbs in early 2014.

During sentencing submissions on Monday, a community victim impact statement was read to the court outlining the devastating effects of the fires.

One woman said Trestrail's offending had caused her to relive the trauma she had suffered as a young girl when her mother was killed in a house fire.

"He has destroyed the victims' sense of safety and security in their own homes, their trust in others and their health and wellbeing," the statement read.

"There is a sense of disbelief and disgust that a person would intentionally cause such damage."

Another victim, mother-of-three Lara Hildebrand, said her young children had been left fearful and traumatised after being forced to flee a fire in her garage.

Ms Hildebrand said she had accepted Trestrail's offer of assistance as the fire raged, not realising it was her neighbour who had lit the blaze.

"I am rebuilding my life and the lives of my children," she said in her victim impact statement.

"We do cope on a day-to-day basis. But I want it to be clear to the defendant that his actions did and do continue to have a significant impact on our lives."

The court heard one of the fires raged for six hours and was battled by 139 firefighters.

Victims have requested that Trestrail be prevented from returning to his neighbourhood upon his release from prison.

Trestrail was remanded in custody to face further sentencing submissions on August 8.

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