An elderly man enraged over having to move from a Tasmanian caravan park sought revenge on the owners by attaching them with a hammer and axe and setting their property alight.
Ian Mackenzie, 81, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, wounding and arson after he attacked the owners of the Beach Retreat Tourist Park in Wynyard in November 2021.
The defendant, who owned a unit at the tourist park but rented the land, retaliated when he was told he and other tenants would eventually need to leave as the owners planned to develop the land.
It was revealed in the The Supreme Court of Tasmania earlier this week that the man’s motivation was “resentment” because he believed he had been wronged.
The court was told he grabbed his wheelbarrow and packed it with a variety of accelerants, an axe and a hammer and planned to set fire to the tourist park.
Justice Tamara Jago said Mackenzie’s actions were premeditated, destructive, revengeful and entirely unjustified.
She said the attacker planned to hurt the male owner and had professed he intended to “dent his skull”.
However she noted Mackenzie had told police he instead saw the wife and “saw the opportunity”.
Mackenzie lured the man’s wife to the park’s laundry then struck her three times to the head and once to the face with the hammer.
As the woman ran screaming for her husband, Mackenzie used the axe to try gain entry to the owners’ home.
When unsuccessful, he returned to the laundry and started a fire which caused about $104,000 in damage.
“You thought about wanting to hurt (the male owner) and ‘teach him a lesson to not be so greedy’,” Justice Jago said.
“When asked (by police) what you were hoping the fire would achieve you said ‘burn the f**king place down’.”
The court was told Mackenzie believed he was promised a life tenancy at the tourist park and would lose the money he had invested in his unit.
It was also said that the defendant struggled to understand why he behaved in such a manner and had otherwise been considered a kind, genuine, professional and law-abiding person.
“Your actions were completely unjustified and had the potential to cause serious harm,” the judge said.
“There is also no doubt that your behaviour has had a seriously debilitating impact upon both (victims).
“Arson is considered such a serious crime because the potential for damage to both life and property can be catastrophic.
“(Resorting) to violence against both person and property to settle grievances, real or perceived, is never acceptable and such behaviour must be condemned by the courts.”
Mackenzie was sentenced to two years imprisonment with a non parole period of one year.