Company director Scott Stirling outside court.
Company director Scott Stirling outside court.

Company director guilty of starting $3m fire

A cash-strapped company director has been found guilty of starting an immense factory fire that ripped through a Brisbane business area causing millions of dollars in damages.

Scott Gregory Stirling, 41, was last night found guilty in a majority decision of 11 out of 12 jurors of setting fire to his business, All Bumpers and Headlights at Virginia, on September 24, 2017.

The blaze caused more than $1.3 million damage to four surrounding businesses and $1.5 million in lost trade for Officeworks Virginia.

More than 170 firefighters and 24 fire trucks were called to the Pritchard Rd business after plumes of black smoke were seen billowing across the city, Brisbane District Court heard.

Throughout the five-day trial, prosecutor Brendan White alleged Stirling set fire to the business because his car repair business was facing severe financial hardship.

The court heard his business was $570,000 in debt, including $200,000 which was owed to the Australian Taxation Office.

Stirling was found guilty of one count of arson and four counts of endangering a property by fire.

After eight hours of deliberation, the jury sent a note to tell Judge Ray Rinaudo they could not reach a unanimous verdict.

The judge then told the jurors they could reach a majority verdict of 11 of 12 jurors.

The jurors returned about an hour and a half later with a majority verdict of guilty on each of the five charges.

Stirling was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on Tuesday.

Originally published as Company director guilty of starting $3m fire