Arsonist caught after 30 years on the run


ANNISSA Lee Jane Nyp had just turned 18, was troubled, and couch surfing with a youth worker when she set fire to their Gold Coast home.

When justice finally caught up with her on Monday - 31 years after the blaze - Nyp was a mother of five, a carer for one son who has a brain injury and approaching her 50s.

Nyp let her long hair hang over her face and wore a navy, blue hoodie when she pleaded guilty in Southport District Court to one count of arson.

Her 45-minute appearance was one of chance after more than 30 years on the run.

After a committal hearing for the arson back in January 1990, Nyp fled to Adelaide and then Perth.

It was in Western Australia where she would make her life for the next three decades.

She only returned to Queensland in the last year to visit elderly relatives.

Her barrister Halley Robertson said: "She was sitting in her car having a coffee and police came and did a name check.

"She told them there was probably a warrant out."

Ms Robertson said since the blaze Nyp had turned her life around.

She said Nyp had never been in contact with the law and had stable accommodation despite experiencing periods of domestic violence.

At the time of the blaze, when she was aged 18, Nyp struggled with periods of homelessness, mental health issues and ended up moving in with a youth worker as a last resort.

Prosecutor Denise Darwen said that on November 11, 1989 Nyp was alone in the Bundall granny flat when she set it on fire.

"She told police she knew the fire would burn … but did not want to burn the house down," she said.

The court was told the damage done was more than $9000-worth in 1989.

Ms Darwen said Nyp spent 81 days in pre-sentence custody after the fire and was released on January 31, 1990.

Nyp then fled.

"It is a late guilty plea given it is 30 years after the committal hearing," she said.

Judge David Kent sentenced Nyp to 81 days in custody and two years probation.

He declared her time in custody already served.

"You can't leave or stay out of Queensland without permission - no more going back to Perth without their permission," he said.

A conviction was recorded.

Originally published as Arsonist caught after 30 years on the run