Mystery fire case in court

A MAN will seek to clear his name of arson allegations in a five-day court hearing next week.

Paul Hay, of Coffs Harbour, is accused of deliberately setting fire to a house he owns in Bennetts Road, Coffs Harbour on February 2, 2009.

Police will allege he set fire to the house in an attempt to cash in on a home and contents insurance policy.

It will be alleged he did so using a homemade time delay device comprising a mosquito coil, citronella oil and sparklers.

Crown prosecutors will seek to prove that Hay planted the delayed fire ignition point under the house, before catching a plane to Sydney.

Fire crews were called to the property at about 11pm that night, arriving to find the home well engulfed by flames.

It was later determined the blaze broke out between the kitchen and the laundry.

Investigators found that the fire was likely to have been accelerated by objects placed suspiciously above where the fire started.

Hay was then questioned and charged by police after returning home in the days following the fire.

Police evidence is centred on the fact that Hay stood to gain a home and contents insurance payout believed to be in the order of $300,000.

He is facing a charge of dishonestly for gain damage a property by fire/explosive.

A special five-day hearing into the allegations is set down in the Coffs Harbour Local Court on Monday.

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