Melbourne, Dec 1 (ANI): An Australian woman has been charged with murder after she allegedly doused a friend in petrol and then set him alight for touching her breasts while she was sleeping.
Kerry Anne McNiven, 43, made an appearance in Wangaratta Magistrates Court charged with the murder of Gary Stewart, 50, on November 18 last year.
At the committal hearing, the court was told McNiven admitted to Sergeant Brian McCormick, of Wangaratta police, that she was responsible for the attack on Stewart.
The attack had occurred on the banks of the Ovens River near the Templeton Street boat ramp.
"She said, 'Look, I'll tell you this whole thing is because he touched my boobies last night while I was asleep'," the Border Mail quoted Sergeant McCormick as saying in a statement.
"She put both her hands on her breasts as she explained. 'I've already been molested once, years ago. I wasn't going to let someone do it again and get away with it'," McCormick stated.
Another officer, Senior Constable Brad Beecroft, told the court McNiven had appeared "upset and agitated" when he arrived.
He saw that she had a lighter in the middle of her bra and, and asked if it was the one she used to set Stewart alight.
"I think so," she replied.
The police officers said McNiven's breath smelt of alcohol, but she was coherent and did not appear to be heavily intoxicated at the time.
But friend Anita Saunders in her evidence to the court said she had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana with McNiven throughout the day.
Another friend, Ray Flemming said McNiven had developed a "full on" drinking problem. She would begin consuming cask wine as soon as she got up in the morning.
Stewart died on December 10 last year after suffering burns to 72 percent of his body, including much of his back.
Passers-by John Patrick and Graeme Cripps told police they saw Stewart being showered with a fluid they hoped was water, and they started walking away.
But when they glanced back, they saw he had become a human fireball.
Cripps rushed to Stewart's aid, burning his finger as he dragged the victim into the water.
Stewart was taken to Wangaratta Base Hospital and then the burns unit at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne where he later died.
The committal hearing continues before magistrate John Murphy. (ANI)