Armed with Eskies, the residents of the Victorian town of Meringur danced and drank beer as they watched flames engulf the home of Terrence Allan Ellis last Sunday night.
For the town’s tiny population of 16, this was the type of justice the legal system couldn’t deliver, and they wanted to celebrate.
Ellis, a 52-year-old alcoholic and former vagrant, was convicted two weeks ago of raping a young girl.
Police have quizzed residents over the arson attack and confirmed the fire was suspicious.
While nobody in Meringur is owning up to the crime, as many as 40 people from the area celebrated at the time.
Even the victim, whom Ellis had threatened to kill if she told anyone about the assault, and who still lives nearby, came out to watch the timber cottage burn.
“You couldn’t wipe the smile off her face,” her father said yesterday.
Of course the “real” justice system also delivered its own brand:
Ellis was sentenced to a minimum 3 1/2 years jail last month in the Victorian County Court and could be out in less than 2 1/2 years with time already served.