Jail for man who set sleeping rival alight

David Maddocks has been jailed for a decade for setting a man on fire in suburban Melbourne.
David Maddocks has been jailed for a decade for setting a man on fire in suburban Melbourne.

Phillip Payet woke up cold, wet and covered in petrol pouring through the window of his car. One of two men standing outside lit it on fire and ran.

Mr Payet defied doctors' expectations and survived the 2016 attack outside his southeast Melbourne home.

The rival who orchestrated it, David Maddocks, has been jailed for a decade.

"I just want you to know I'm going to get you one way or another and I will wait 10 years if I have to," Maddocks had warned Mr Payet in a earlier letter.

Maddocks carried through with the threat in the early hours of December 27. His mate, Clinton Phillips, met him at Frankston with a jerry can.

Maddocks poured the fuel through the window of Mr Payet's car as the man slept inside.

The 39-year-old ran outside screaming for help while his attackers got into their respective girlfriends' cars and told them to drive.

Maddocks was jailed in Victoria's County Court on Thursday. The 32-year-old must serve seven-and-a-half years of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

"The facts in this case are horrific. Your behaviour was despicable and cruel," Judge Rachelle Lewitan said.

Mr Payet sustained burns to about 60 per cent of his body. He must wear a compression bandage on his head and has been mistaken for a robber in a balaclava.

Doctors initially told his partner, Liz Lewis, to prepare for his death.

When Mr Payet awoke from his coma, he was placed on suicide watch because he couldn't come to terms with what had happened.

Maddocks pleaded guilty to intentionally causing serious injury, fuelled by methamphetamine, anger and a toxic relationship with his victim.

The court was told Maddocks was a Yorta Yorta man who had himself suffered profound trauma growing up.

He was four years old when he watched his dad, a high-ranking member of the Hells Angels, being murdered by other bikies.

Maddocks was on the street by the age of 12, started using cannabis and then moved onto harder drugs.

He racked up 155 prior convictions through 17 court appearances, including for recklessly causing injury and making threats to kill.

In 2019, he was jailed for burning down a shed after becoming involved in his sister's dispute with a neighbour about a horse.

Maddocks has complex post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder.

The court was told he had enrolled in a university course behind bars and was also making and selling art to support his 12-year-old son. He also gave some of the art to the Smith Family charity and Royal Children's Hospital.

Phillips, who provided the fuel for the attack on Mr Payet, was previously jailed for seven years.

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Australian Associated Press