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Man Accused of Setting Neighbour on Fire with Blowtorch Denied Bail

Woman Set on Fire Werribee South
  
   

Melbourne Magistrates Court Refuses Bail for Michael Gauci, Alleged Perpetrator in Horrific Blowtorch Attack

A man accused of using a blowtorch to set his neighbour on fire in response to loud music has been denied bail due to concerns about the risk he poses to the public. Michael Gauci faced charges including attempted murder, causing serious injury, and conduct endangering life in connection with the incident that occurred in December last year.

Gauci sought bail last week at the Melbourne Magistrates Court. The allegations involve Gauci pouring accelerant on a woman and igniting her, resulting in severe burns covering 70 per cent of her body. The incident reportedly unfolded after Gauci’s wife requested neighbours in a Werribee South townhouse courtyard to lower the volume of their music around midnight on December 27.

According to the police, Gauci later returned home, confronted the neighbours over a fence, and initiated a challenge to fight in the street. The situation escalated, culminating in Gauci allegedly setting the woman on fire in a driveway using a blowtorch.

During a previous hearing, Detective Senior Constable Matthew Wick described the horrifying scene where Gauci ignited the blowtorch, causing the woman’s upper body to catch fire. Despite the efforts of her friends and housemates to suppress the flames, the victim suffered extensive burns. She was given a 30 per cent chance of survival and spent seven months in the hospital before undergoing a two-month rehabilitation period.

Two friends of the victim also sustained burns requiring medical attention. Gauci’s defence argued that he might have acted in self-defence and emphasized the need to address his medical and psychological issues. Additionally, Gauci’s parents offered a $1 million surety for his release on bail.

However, on Monday, Magistrate Jarrod Williams refused the bail application, citing concerns about the risk Gauci posed to the public. The decision was influenced by the discovery of a sawn-off shotgun in Gauci’s car, reinforcing the belief that he presented a genuine risk to public safety.

Gauci, appearing via video link from prison, will remain in custody and is scheduled to face a committal hearing in March of next year.

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