Former student sentenced over ferocious Gold Coast school blaze

A young man accused of starting a massive fire that caused millions of dollars worth of damage to a Gold Coast school four years ago has finally learnt his fate.

Paul Hamstra appeared in Southport District Court on Friday, where he was sentenced to three years in jail, suspended after six months.

It comes after the now 22-year-old pleaded guilty to wilful damage and endangering particular property by fire.


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Mr Hamstra was the alleged ringleader of the blaze, which gutted a large part of St Andrews Lutheran College at Tallebudgera on Anzac Day in 2016, causing $6.6 million worth of damage.

The court heard the former student attended the school with a group of friends just before 11.00pm on April 25, 2016.

He allegedly set fire to a number of items in a locker before fleeing the scene, with the blaze quickly getting out of control.

It took fire crews, who arrived at the school shortly after the fire alarm sounded, almost 15 hours to put out the flames which caused significant damage to the building.

Two other young men previously pleaded guilty to more serious arson charges over the incident and were handed suspended jail terms.

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