A travel agent has faced the man responsible for “destroying her livelihood” in court, where he was charged with arson. Plot twist: the man was her former partner.
Rosalie Stott was the owner of Inflight Travel business in Adelaide, when her former partner Samuel Patton, allegedly set fire to the business, burning it to the ground and severely damaging two neighbouring businesses.
Patton was arrested and placed in custody, where he remained, and will be sentenced on Tuesday.
According to the ABC, Patton started the fire on 27 September last year in the early hours of the morning, an act Stott labelled as “devilish” and “wicked” when she read her victim impact statement at his pre-sentencing hearing.
“It’s only a coward who would strike at night thinking no-one would see you and you thought you would get away with it,” Stott said, per ABC.
“I’ve put my blood, sweat and tears into my profession and my business and Mr Patton’s irreprehensible, despicable, unjustifiable, premeditated behaviour has destroyed my livelihood.
“What you have done to me is the most devilish, wicked, evil act.”
The court heard the travel agency suffered a loss of around $2 million in gross turnover as a result of the fire, which Stott said has left her “heartbroken”.
She also told the court she had once been a happy person who was devoted to her career and passionate about the work she was doing, but this incident has left her feeling empty.
“How could a person, you, be so callous to destroy me, not only financially, but personally and humiliate me publicly?” Stott said, per ABC.
“I feel sad, heartbroken, ripped and torn apart.”
“I feel what Mr Patton has done is beyond comprehension, it’s indescribable, inexcusable and I hope Mr Patton’s sentencing is justified to his crime.”
The fire also caused $85,000 damage to the neighbouring chiropractic clinic and $120,000 damage to the Pack and Send on the other side of the agency.
Patton pleaded guilty to arson, with the maximum sentence being life imprisonment. Patton was arrested and placed in custody, where he remained, and will be sentenced on Tuesday.
His lawyer claimed he had been drinking prior to setting the fire, with Patton apologising in a statement he read out to the court.
“I think about it every day and I still can’t believe what I have done,” he said, per the ABC.
Patton claimed that both Rosalie Stott and her travel agency “meant a lot to him” and he was now taking anti-psychotic medication.
“I didn’t think about what I was doing to so many people I care about,” Patton said, per ABC.
“I can’t apologise enough for the grief I’ve caused.”