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Thug who covered a driver in petrol and set him on fire claims he didn’t know he was there

The son of a former high-ranking Hells Angel bikie is facing serious prison time after dousing a man in petrol and setting him on fire as he slept in his car. 

David Maddocks, 32, is awaiting sentencing over the ‘horrific’ act that almost killed Phillip Payet, 38, on Boxing Day in 2016 outside his home in Melbourne’s south-east. 

Payet survived but with burns to about 70 per cent of his body. He still wears a compression bandage over his head and has been mistaken for a robber in a balaclava.  

Mr Payet’s partner says Maddocks, and the man who provided the fuel, have handed her family a life sentence.

‘It was and still is a living nightmare,’ Liz Lewis said in a statement to Victoria’s County Court on Thursday.

‘How could this have happened?’  

The devastated mother told the court her children had witnessed their father on fire during the attack. 

Maddocks wrote an apology to Mr Payet’s family, but they refused to take it.

‘I know I’m going to get a long time in prison. I know I deserved it,’ the 32-year-old wrote, according to his lawyer Joe Connolly.

Maddocks pleaded guilty to intentionally causing serious injury.

Mr Connolly asked for the Yorta Yorta man’s sentence to be lessened in the face of extraordinary abuse, hardship, deprivation and disadvantage.

He was four when he saw his biological father, a high-ranking member of the Hells Angels, was murdered in a brutal fashion.

His stepfather was violent and Maddocks was kicked out of nearly every school he went to, not making it past year 10.

He sniffed glue, drank, used cocaine, ice and ecstasy, and has already been jailed four times. The most recent of these sentences was in 2019 for arson.

Maddocks had claimed he didn’t know Mr Payet was in the car when he set it on fire and ‘swore on the Bible’ he hadn’t meant to hurt him. This was rejected by prosecutors.

Co-offender Clinton Phillips, who provided the fuel and helped set Mr Payet alight, was previously jailed for seven years over the attack.

Judge Rachelle Lewitan will sentence Maddocks at a later date.

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