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Jail for setting woman alight

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A woman who was doused in petrol and set alight has screamed and cried outside a Sydney court after her attacker was sentenced to at least three years in jail for the “ghastly” crime.

The then 32-year-old woman, who only wants to be known as Miss K, was walking to work in Chippendale on the morning of March 22, 2012, when she was grabbed and forced to the ground.

As she lay there, her assailant, a 17-year-old boy, poured a milk carton full of accelerant over her.

Panic-stricken, she got up and ran, but the teen came up behind her and set her alight.

She was engulfed in flames and suffered third-degree burns to 45 per cent of her body, on her face, neck, chest, arms and legs.

In sentencing the teen, who can only be referred to as MF for legal reasons, Judge Andrew Haesler said what had happened to Miss K was a tragedy.

“She will continue to suffer physically and mentally for the rest of her life,” he told the District Court on Monday.

The court heard MF later told police his cousin, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had threatened violence against his mother and sister if he did not carry out the attack.

While Judge Haesler accepted that MF acted under duress, he said the teenager could have sought police help or risked retribution rather than commit a crime that carried the “absolute certainty” of causing Miss K gross harm.

Were it not for the element of duress, his assistance in the case against his cousin and his early guilty plea, Judge Haesler said he would have sentenced the teenager to 11 years.

But due to the special circumstances he sentenced him to a minimum of three years and a maximum of six, setting his earliest date of release as August 2017.

MF’s mother cried and hugged her son as he was taken into custody.

Outside court, Miss K screamed and cried after the sentence was handed down.