• Sun. Mar 12th, 2023

John Matthew Darch jailed over domestic violence

John Matthew Darch was so furious with his wife for failing to go to bed when he demanded it that he poured petrol over her and threatened to set her on fire while their young children slept inside the family home.“You are going to burn alive,” he told the woman.Terrified for her life, the woman took her jumper off and ran into the house, but Darch followed and beat her before leaving the house.Darch, who pleaded guilty to doing an act that resulted in his wife’s life being endangered and unlawfully damaging a motor vehicle, was this week sentenced in the West Australian District Court to two years and 10 months in jail.The court in Bunbury was told the incident happened in Broadwater in October last year.The couple, who have two children aged three and one, had been together for 16 years but their relationship had been marred by domestic violence in recent years.That fateful evening, they had been having a few drinks in their backyard and socialising near a fire with their housemate when Darch announced he wanted to go to bed. He became enraged and stormed off when the victim said she was not ready for bed, then he returned and began verbally abusing her, calling her “a piece of s***” and “a crappy mother”.She was standing when he kicked her in the knee, causing her to fall to the ground screaming. He then struck the victim to the head and grabbed a large jerry can of petrol, pouring about five litres over the victim’s head, face and body. As her clothing became drenched in petrol, she began to feel a burning sensation and pain.After she ran into the house and he continued to beat her, Darch finally left the house.Neighbours who had heard yelling were gathered across the road and Darch hurled abuse at them before throwing a beer bottle at their vehicle, which caused a dent.Darch was later arrested and charged.Judge David MacLean said the long-term effects upon the woman and the couple’s children were expected to be long-term and enduring.“Through your selfishness and rage against your former partner, you’ve destroyed your family,” the judge said.“Your victims include your young children, against you’ve taken away the opportunity in these very important years of having any meaningful relationship with you.“I’m not sentencing you for offences against children, but the fact of the matter is that they are obviously victims of your rage, as demonstrated in your offending on that evening.”The court was told Darch’s rage was fuelled by alcohol and possibly cannabis, plus impacted by new medication he was taking at the time.“You don’t need to be a medical practitioner to understand that you do not mix psychotropical medication with alcohol and you certainly don’t get intoxicated,” Judge MacLean said. “It’s going to have an absolutely negative effect – and it did have so.“It demonstrates a reckless disregard for the combination of those two dangerous substances, even though it’s prescribed. “It’s not a toy. It’s not a treat. It’s something which if not taken properly is dangerous.”Darch must serve at least half of his prison term before he can be eligible for parole.

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