Geraldton man accused of torching car appears in court

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Geraldton Courthouse.
Camera IconGeraldton Courthouse. Credit: Anita Kirkbright, The Geraldton Guardian

A man accused of hiring a car and torching it at a Geraldton beach early yesterday morning has appeared in court charged with criminal damage by fire.

Kieran James Felstead, 26, wore a blue forensic suit as he was led into Geraldton Magistrate’s Court today – his clothes having been seized by police to be tested for “accelerants”.

Lawyer Melissa Wishart told the court Mr Felstead, who moved to Australia from the UK seven years ago and is not a permanent resident, intended to plead not guilty.

Police allege Mr Felstead and a co-accused person hired the vehicle, a Kia Rio worth $15,000, from Thrifty Car and Truck Rental.

About 12.40am yesterday, Mr Felstead allegedly pumped fuel at a Puma Tarcoola and drove off without paying.

Prosecuting Sergeant Carey Owen said the pair then “drove onto a beach area… and set fire to the vehicle”.

He said a member of the public reported the blaze at Point Moore about 2.30am and Mr Felstead was arrested nearby a short time later.

He allegedly denied starting the fire and told officers the car had been stolen.

Ms Wishart said though Mr Felstead was not yet in a position to make a plea, a family member was willing to stump up surety if he was granted bail.

Sgt Owen disputed this, saying neither Mr Felstead’s parents nor grandmother were willing to accommodate him.

“Detectives spoke to family this morning,” he said. “He is not welcome back at those addresses.”

Magistrate Stephen Sharratt ordered a bail report and adjourned the matter until tomorrow.

Mr Felstead appeared in the same court yesterday, charged with several other offences including stealing and no authority to drive.

A Geraldton police spokesman told The Geraldton Guardian he was charged over the car fire following yesterday’s appearance.

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