News Crime Serial arsonist pleads guilty to dousing sleeping victim with petrol and setting him ablaze

Serial arsonist pleads guilty to dousing sleeping victim with petrol and setting him ablaze

David John Maddocks has apologised to his victim's family, insisting he only meant to burn the car - not the sleeping man inside. Photo: Facebook
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David Maddocks knows he’s going to jail for a long time, after covering a sleeping man in petrol and setting him on fire.

Phillip Payet spent Boxing Day, 2016 fixing up his car and fell asleep inside.

Maddocks had a beef with the 38-year-old. So he enlisted another man to help him pour fuel through the car window and set it alight outside Mr Payet’s southeast Melbourne home.

Mr Payet survived but with burns to about 70 per cent of his body. He still wears a compression bandage over his head and has been mistaken for a robber in a balaclava.

Mr Payet’s partner says Maddocks, and the man who provided the fuel, have handed her family a life sentence.

“It was and still is a living nightmare,” Liz Lewis said in a statement to Victoria’s County Court on Thursday. “How could this have happened?”

Maddocks wrote an apology to My Payet’s family, but they refused to take it.

“I know I’m going to get a long time in prison. I know I deserved it,” the 32-year-old wrote, according to his lawyer Joe Connolly.

Maddocks pleaded guilty to intentionally causing serious injury.

Mr Connolly asked for the Yorta Yorta man’s sentence to be lessened in the face of extraordinary abuse, hardship, deprivation and disadvantage.

He was four when he saw his biological father, a high-ranking member of the Hells Angels, murdered in a brutal fashion.

His stepfather was violent and Maddocks was kicked out of nearly every school he went to, not making it past year 10.

He sniffed glue, drank, used cocaine, ice and ecstasy, and has already been jailed four times.

The most recent sentence came in January 2019 when he was found guilty of arson after burning down a farmer’s shed as payback for a dispute involving agistment fees for his sister’s horse.

Maddocks had claimed he didn’t know Mr Payet was in the car when he set it on fire and “swore on the Bible” he hadn’t meant to hurt him. This was rejected by prosecutors.

Co-offender Clinton Phillips, who provided the fuel and helped set Mr Payet alight, was earlier jailed for seven years over the attack.

Judge Rachelle Lewitan will sentence Maddocks at a later date.

-with AAP