Arsonist caught on camera


ALBURY man Keith Raymond Pearson was caught out by a closed-circuit camera and yesterday admitted setting fire to the Wodonga home of his former partner.

Pearson, 54, of Harmer Street, Glenroy, appeared in Wodonga Magistrates Court through a video-link from jail and pleaded guilty to charges of arson and breaching an intervention order.

Magistrate Stella Stuthridge committed Pearson for sentencing in the County Court sittings starting in Wodonga on April 29.

Pearson appeared in court in January seeking bail and a psychiatric assessment was ordered, but he has remained in custody.

The circumstances of how Pearson set fire to a house that was insured for $450,000 —and how police became aware of his involvement — were outlined in the bail hearing.

Pearson was unaware his former partner had installed closed-circuit cameras at her home in De Kerilleau Drive since their separation.

She lived there with two children and no one was at home when the blaze started on January 10.

It destroyed the house, but police were able to retrieve footage of what took place and Pearson was arrested on January 23.

He went to the house in the morning, forced entry to the garage and parked his car inside.

Pearson loaded the car with items and left half an hour later, carrying a fuel can.

He returned about noon wearing different clothes and a hat, and entered the garage.

Moments after he leaves, smoke could be seen coming from the garage but the fire appeared to extinguish itself.

The footage showed Pearson returning a third time — about 12.40pm — and he could be seen leaving again as smoke came from the roof, but this time the fire roared.

When interviewed by police after his arrest, Pearson declined to make any comment.

The house was owned outright by the victim before she started a relationship with Pearson in 2007.

At the time of the fire, she had an intervention order against Pearson which was imposed last December and continues for 12 months.