Drunk man set Mum's car on fire

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 yesterday.

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 property.

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 for sentence.

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