Alleged insurance fraud case in court

A MAN asked an associate from Maryborough to torch his struggling business so he could claim more than $1.5 million in insurance, a court has been told.

Ian Ernest King's Autopro store on Brisbane's southside was “haemorrhaging money” when King plotted to make a fraudulent claim, prosecutor Belinda Merrin told the Brisbane District Court yesterday.

Ms Merrin said King called his Maryborough friend Peter Foxe on the morning of March 13, 2008, to tell him it was a “good day for the fire to be lit”.

Foxe drove from Maryborough to meet King at a pub to discuss the best time to set fire to the building, the court was told.

Ms Merrin said King, 50, from Eatons Hill, gave Foxe a key to the business, an alarm access code and security password, and a car to drive there that evening.

She said Foxe went to the shop about 8.30pm and set it alight.

Ms Merrin said Foxe would tell the court he set the shop on fire by lighting cardboard boxes.

The court was told King had insured the business for more than $1.5 million, which the insurance company refused to pay following King's arrest.

King also allegedly paid Foxe $2000 for helping him.

Ms Merrin said the fire destroyed the Autopro shop and caused significant damage to surrounding businesses.

King has pleaded not guilty to one count each or arson and aggravated fraud.

Foxe has already been sentenced for his involvement.

The trial continues. – AAP

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