Setting a stolen car on fire had burning consequences for Annaliese Kirchen | The Border Mail



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There was an unintended consequence for a young woman setting a stolen car on fire – she accidentally set her own pants on fire as well. Annaliese Kirchen, 21, this week pleaded guilty to the car arson and the offence of reckless conduct endangering serious injury, for when she reached speeds of up to 120km/h during a police chase in residential Wangaratta streets. Wangaratta Magistrates Court heard Kirchen was seen with four other people on July 19 buying a jerry can of petrol from Benalla, before driving to where a Holden Captiva was dumped in Goorambat. Prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Stuart Pritchard said she was the one to pour petrol on the car and ignite the fire. “The accused was standing too close and was exposed to the flames, causing her leggings to catch on fire,” he said. “The accused rolled around on the grass to extinguish her pants. “The accused received serious burns to her ankles as a result.” MORE NEWS FROM COURT: They all fled the scene, but Kirchen was later arrested on June 26 in a hotel room on Flinders Lane in Melbourne. She next came to police attention on September 6 when she was seen driving erratically on Rangeview Avenue in Wangaratta. Police chased Kirchen as she reached speeds of up to 120km/h in a 60km/h zone. A man had to jump to safety on Hinchley Street to avoid being hit, then officers were forced to call off the pursuit as the car went onto the wrong side of the road at high speed at the intersection of O’Leary and Phillipson streets. Defence solicitor Geoff Clancy said Kitchen had made poor social choices and accepted she would go to jail. Magistrate Ian Watkins said he was concerned Kirchen had a history of similar speeding and police chases. “She’s going through that cycle of she offends, lock her up, she offends, lock her up – it doesn’t do anything to break that cycle,” he said. He said he wanted her to undergo a psychological assessment and the case was adjourned until December for sentencing.

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