A father doused his young daughter with petrol and set her on fire during a fit of rage because she was "too beautiful", a court has heard. The girl, who was aged three at the time, suffered "severe and life-threatening burns" to 13% of her body and was left with permanent scars following the attack.
Her older sister, aged seven, was also doused with petrol but she was not set on fire. An off-duty police officer who lived next door heard screams and ran over to help, covering the younger girl with
a blanket to extinguish the flames, the court heard.
The girls' father, Edward John Herbert, admits he intended to kill the girls but has pleaded not guilty to five charges including, attempted to kill his daughters, on account of being unsound of mind.
The Supreme Court of Western Australia heard the father-of-three had spent the day smoking cannabis and drinking before the incident at the family's home in the Perth, Australia, suburb of Doubleview in August 2015.
Amanda Forrester, prosecuting, said Herbert chased his partner with a knife and threatened to blow up the house before setting his daughter on fire.
The court heard that his partner tried to keep him calm but at one point he told her "the werewolf is coming" and then before midnight said "that's it, bitch, I am going to kill you".
He poured petrol over the younger girl in front of his partner and then set her on fire before pouring petrol over the older girl, who has autism and special needs.
Off-duty police officer Stephanie Bochorsky heard a commotion and went to help, finding the three-year-old with her head on fire in her cot.
She told court how she covered the girl with a blanket to put out the fire and then pulled both children from the room.
Neighbour Daniel McMillan told court that he went into the home and found Herbert pacing in the kitchen and drinking a beer.
Mr McMillan said he asked Herbert what he had done, and he replied that he had set his youngest daughter on fire because she was "too beautiful".
Herbert said "they were his kids" and he could do whatever he wanted.
Mr McMillan said Herbert threw bottles at him and lunged at him with a knife, but he was able to disarm him and hit him over the head with a fire extinguisher.
As Herbert's son was removed from the home, the father allegedly said: "Don't worry, I wouldn't have lit my boy up."
The court was told that Herbert was a heavy cannabis user and drinker, and that he had been getting angry "all the time".
Ms Forrester said he appeared to double his cannabis use in the days before the attack and was drinking almost an entire carton of beer every day.
His partner told the court in a witness statement that he seemed paranoid and angry, and he talked about werewolves and stripped naked before setting their daughter on fire.
She said: “(The girl’s) face was red and dark brown with her hair short and singed. She looked at me like she was in shock.”
The trial continues.