ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

A serial arsonist with a documented history of setting fires around our cosmopolitan desert community and who used to seek attention as a child by flipping his eyelids inside-out has received a six-year sentence in the Betoota District Court for his most recent, eleventh, arson conviction.

The Advocate reported earlier this year that Tucker Grattan had been charged with grand theft auto, unlawful killing of an ant colony and arson after intentionally setting a vehicle on fire in Betoota Ponds.

The court heard that the 36-year-old broke into and stole a late model Mercedes Benz in Betoota Grove and drove it to the Ponds where he set the car on fire.

The Mercedes Benz ML55, which belonged to the Flo Carton, wife of Mayor Keith Carton, was completely gutted by the blaze.

However, the Cartons are refusing to press charges, as they know the convicted arsonist quite well and the vehicle was grossly over-insured at the time and had a sticky gearbox – plus a number of other gremlins in the electrics.

Our reporter spoke briefly to Mr Grattan’s barrister on the steps of the Betoota Courts, where he said his client will not seek an appeal and now accepts responsibility for his crimes against the people of our town.

“Had my client known that there was an ant colony trapped in the glovebox of Mrs Carton’s car, he never would’ve set it on fire,” said Mr Langton Gorilla SC.

“He, at least, would’ve got the ant farm out and let them go on the nature strip or something. Nevertheless, he has accepted his guilt and has expressed remorse for his actions, including last month’s arson attack on the portaloos in Machattie Park,”

“That’s all, thanks.”

Mr Grattan will be eligible for parole in early 2021.

More to come.


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