17-year-old Tamworth boy charged with setting fire to Sue Crescent house in Coledale and released on bail

Charges laid: The teen is charged with offences stemming from four fires in the Coledale area in early January, including this one in Bourne Street. Photo: Peter Hardin
Charges laid: The teen is charged with offences stemming from four fires in the Coledale area in early January, including this one in Bourne Street. Photo: Peter Hardin

A TEENAGER accused of torching two houses in Tamworth has been granted bail a second time after allegedly trying to set fire to another home on Sunday night.

The 17-year-old cannot be identified but appeared in the dock of Tamworth Children’s Court on Monday, facing a fresh charge of intentionally damaging property by fire, stemming from a blaze in Sue Crescent.

Detectives allege the teen was wearing distinctive clothing and was seen leaving the vacant house about 10pm, before a witness went to check and found a fire inside the loungeroom on Sunday night.

It’s the police case the witness doused the small fire with water and alerted police who found flammable items, partially burnt in the vacant property.

The 17-year-old was arrested about 1.40am on Monday and taken to Tamworth Police Station where he was questioned and charged with the fresh offence.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Cynthia Donovan opposed bail for the teen but said if he was released, he should be subject to a curfew “given the timing of these offences”.

Legal Aid solicitor Rae Parker told the court the teen was battling several personal issues, left school last year, and this appeared to be “some kind of cry for help”.

“Until a very short time ago this young man had never been in any type of trouble,” she said.

Ms Parker said her client needed to be assessed by a forensic psychiatrist but conceded he could not return to the property where he lived with family.

“These offences are all happening in the Coledale area,” she told the court.

Acting magistrate Mal MacPherson said the teen was a “young man clearly with issues that need to be addressed” by a forensic specialist. “That’s not going to happen if he’s in custody,” he said.

He granted the teen bail to live with his grandparents, and not leave their immediate company, or the house between 7pm and 7am. 

Mr MacPherson said the clear bail concern was that the teen was a risk of committing further serious offences and warned the family they must call police immediately if he left the house. 

“He needs to be under constant supervision,” he said. 

“You won’t be doing him any favours at all … if he leaves your home.

“If he breaches the bail, he’ll end up in custody.”

The case was adjourned to next month.