A drunk and angry man set fire to his mother's $3000 car
after sending her abusive text messages threatening to set
her house on fire, the Dunedin District Court heard
Dunedin tattooist Darcey Aaron Purches (28) told police he
blacked out after leaving his place with two containers of
petrol early on December 7. But he said he believed setting
fire to his mother's car was something he would have done,
whether or not he blacked out.
His mother was the guarantor for a personal loan Purches
obtained for a car last June and she also lent him money.
Purches took offence and became abusive when his mother spoke
to him late last year about his failure to continue his car
payments and not repaying any of her money, prosecutor
Sergeant Paul Knox said.
On the night of December 6, Purches was drinking at home.
About 2.30am, he sent several threatening texts to his
mother, saying he was going to set fire to her house. He was
heard yelling as he got into his car and drove away from his
At his mother's house, he poured petrol on her Hyundai
Lantra, set it alight and left.
Police found a yellow petrol cap near the burning car. The
cap matched one of two empty 5-litre petrol containers they
recovered from the defendant's vehicle.
Forensic testing of clothing and footwear he had been wearing
at the time revealed traces of petrol.
When interviewed earlier this months, Purches told police he
"got into a rage'' and sent the threatening text messages to
his mother. As a result of the amount of alcohol and drugs he
had consumed, he blacked out after leaving his home. But he
accepted he had set his mother's car on fire.
Purches admitted one charge of intentionally damaging the car
by setting it on fire on December 7.
He also admitted unrelated charges of drink-driving (with a
breath alcohol level of 548mcg) and dangerous driving, in
Taieri Rd, on May 3.
His car was seen spinning out of control and crashing into a
stone wall outside the Ashburn Clinic. Another motorist had
reported the car speeding past not long before the crash.
Purches told police he was on his cell phone talking to his
partner just before his car collided with the wall.
On all charges, he was convicted and remanded to August 18