Fire accused doused ex in petrol: court

A woman accused of starting a fire that killed her former husband and destroyed his Brisbane townhouse has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Sakura Suda, 45, also pleaded guilty to arson when she appeared in the Supreme Court in Brisbane today.

The Japanese national is accused of dousing her divorced husband, Kenji Suda, in petrol and setting him alight at his Runcorn home, in Brisbane's south, on December 27, 2011.

She was originally charged with the ferry skipper's murder; however, the charge was downgraded to manslaughter in the Mental Health Court.

At a sentencing hearing, the Supreme Court heard details of Mr Suda's long-standing extra-martial affair and of the accused's relationship with a younger man, who she met during a 2010 holiday to Japan.

Prosecutor Brendan Campbell said although it was unclear who filed for divorce, the Sudas considered themselves officially separated in October 2011.

Mr Suda bought his own townhouse, but let his former wife move in that November when it became clear she couldn't cope on her own, Mr Campbell said.

He said Mr Suda had become increasingly concerned about his former wife's mental state, and on December 21 sent his daughter to Japan.

Four days later, on Christmas Day, Suda filled two fuel cans at a service station and hid them in the spare bedroom, then bought matches on Boxing Day, the court heard.

The following night, neighbours heard screaming coming from the burning home.

Suda escaped by jumping from an upstairs window and landing on a hedge.

She suffered injuries from the fall and substantial burns.

According to insurance estimates, the house would cost $194,000 to rebuild, while $117,000 was required for repairs to a neighbouring townhouse damaged in the fire, Mr Campbell said.

Mr Suda and the accused's daughter, 11, now lives in Japan with her grandmother.

Suda has already served two years and two months in pre-sentence custody.

The sentencing hearing before Justice David Jackson continues.

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