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Petrol bomb attack on Luke Coburn

Petrol bomb attack on Luke Coburn


DOUSED in petrol and set on fire, Luke Coburn thought he was going to die in an attack at his Adelaide home in 2013.

As he chilled out in the garage with some friends, two men wearing disguises ran by.

The first threw fuel over him and the second smashed a Molotov cocktail made from a beer bottle on the concrete near his feet.

The flames quickly engulfed his body, peeling away his flesh.
“I thought I was going to die,” Mr Coburn told reporters outside the District Court on Tuesday after the second man involved in the attack, Tristan Dale Champion, was jailed.

“It took three and a half years just to get back on my own two feet. But in the end, Mr Coburn said the experience had made him a braver and better man.

“You’ve got to brave to stand up to people like that, especially when somebody tries to do their best to take you out,” he said.

The attack on the then 17-year-old was instigated by Joshua Lomas who was jealous that his girlfriend had started seeing Mr Coburn.

He hatched a plan to torch a car outside Mr Coburn’s home but it changed in a “split second”, with the home-made petrol bomb thrown towards the teenager instead.

Lomas was previously jailed for five years with Champion jailed on Tuesday for three years and seven months with a non-parole period of 14 months after pleading guilty to recklessly causing serious harm, a lesser offence than the one he originally faced.

Sentencing Judge Paul Muscat told Champion it was “astonishing” that he would agree to involve himself in such a “stupid and dangerous” crime, especially considering he didn’t even know the person being targeted.

He described the fire bombing and its aftermath as “unthinkable trauma” and said the victim’s family had struggled to comprehend why someone would do such a “horrific and dangerous” thing.

Judge Muscat described Mr Coburn as a courageous young man who still had the goodness in him to hope his attackers could learn from their offending and become better men.

The judge also criticised the Director of Public Prosecutions over its decision not to accept Champion’s repeated offers to plead guilty to the lesser offence, the first of those two years ago.

He was similarly critical of the DPP for insisting that Champion was only entitled to a 10 per cent discount on his sentence because his plea came immediately before his trial.

“I think it is a bit rich for the director to take the position he has,” Judge Muscat said.