Arson attack on DNA man
The Sunday Herald Sun, Australia, By CARLY CRAWFORD
THE first man in Australia to successfully sue for paternity fraud is living in fear after arsonists attacked his car.
Liam Magill's Mitsubishi Magna was burnt and vandalised outside a Box Hill home last weekend in an act of vandalism that has baffled police and frightened his loved ones.
"We don't get much sleep any more -- I'm up after every little bump I hear,'' he said.
Mr Magill, 54, sued his former wife, Meredith, for $70,000 after DNA tests proved that he was not the father of two of their three children.
The decision was hailed as an Australian legal precedent but his former wife has lodged an appeal which is due to be heard in the Supreme Court this year. Mr Magill claimed the damage to his car, which happened late last Saturday, was the latest in a string of attacks designed to intimidate him.
"It's probably a scare tactic -- someone trying to scare me out of defending the appeal,'' he said.
"We're struggling to fund it as it is -- this is the last thing we need.''
He claimed that he had received several anonymous calls late at night and endured a home invasion in the lead up to the County Court trial in November 2002.
Senior Detective Chris Henderson, of the Box Hill Criminal Investigation Unit, said the vandals attacked the
car on three separate occasions on the night of Saturday, March 13.
About 11.30pm they smashed the side mirrors and dented the bonnet before returning minutes later and shattering the windscreen.
Four hours later, they returned with an unknown accelerant and set the car alight.
The blaze damaged the car's bonnet and burned through to the engine bay underneath.
"That car was the only thing I owned in the world,'' Mr Magill said. "There were plenty of other cars parked in the street and they were untouched. "It was not a random attack because they came back three times and only went for my car.''
Senior Det Henderson said the court appeal appeared to be the only significant factor in the investigation. He
said the circumstances suggested the attack was not opportunistic -
a typical feature of vandal activity. "It's certainly very peculiar for vandals to come back three times,'' he said. "That could suggest that there was at least some kind of
personal matter at issue.''
But the true motive remained unclear. "I don't know what benefit someone could gain by doing this, even if it was related to the case.''
The attacks happened near a park in Box Hill North, and a witness saw a white sedan leaving the scene.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1-800-333-000.