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Thursday, April 11, 2024

Melbourne Magistrates Court Hears Testimony For Werribee South Flamethrower Attack In 2022

In 2022, a disturbing incident unfolded in Werribee South, where a seemingly ordinary suburban dispute over loud music spiraled into unimaginable horror. Last Wednesday Melbourne Magistrates Court testimony unveiled the events leading up to a woman being tragically left with burns covering 70 per cent of her body. Michael Gauci, a 44-year-old resident of Werribee South, finds himself accused of attempted murder in connection to the incident.

It is alleged that following a heated backyard argument, Gauci resorted to extreme measures, purportedly igniting Sharie Gray. Witnesses have come forward, claiming Gauci used a blowtorch to inflict the injuries, further escalating the severity of the situation.

A chilling court hearing has revealed that a dispute between neighbors over loud music escalated horrifically, resulting in a woman being engulfed in flames.

Michael Gauci, 44, residing in Werribee South, west of Melbourne, stands accused of using a makeshift flamethrower to set fire to his 32-year-old neighbor, identified as Sharie Gray, amid a neighborhood altercation mere days before Christmas in 2022.

Sharie, who originated from New Zealand, suffered severe burns covering 70 percent of her body in an alleged attack, yet miraculously endured the ordeal.

Initially, her brother-in-law Eta Pirangi suggested to authorities that Gauci might have used a firearm to ignite the fire. However, during intense questioning by Gauci’s attorney, John Korn, Pirangi had to repeatedly recount the harrowing events of that fateful night.

Conflicting accounts emerged in court regarding the circumstances preceding the fire, with some suggesting Gauci’s wife was involved in a physical altercation with Sharie before Gauci intervened.

On the night Mr Pirangi told police, ‘The fighting that I saw, with the punching and hair pulling, this didn’t go on for long,’

According to Mr Pirangi had attempted to separate the women before Gauci ran off and returned with some kind of canister containing about a litre of fuel. 

‘He threw the liquid in a flicking motion, aimed upwards which caused it to mostly impact on Sharie’s upper body and face,’ he told the court. 

‘After the liquid got Sharie, I saw a light ignite, the husband was less than a metre from her… he pressed something in his right hand which caused the flame to move forward. 

‘At first I thought it might have been hairspray and a lighter, but the jet appeared to be too big.’

During court proceedings revealed that Gauci’s wife had previously requested her neighbors to lower the volume of their music due to her young children being asleep. Tensions mounted later in the evening as the lively house party persisted, with the music growing even louder.

According to testimonies, Gauci’s frustrated wife, who was reportedly half the size of Sharie, confronted her neighbor in the driveway shortly after 1 am.

Steve Pirangi, a resident living nearby with his brother Eta, returned home late on the night of the unfortunate incident. After indulging in a smoke before retiring to bed, he was startled awake by the commotion outside.

Mr. Pirangi denied allegations that Sharie was involved in a physical altercation with Gauci’s wife prior to the alleged attack. He asserted that Sharie had her back turned to Gauci at the time he purportedly set her on fire.

Additionally, Mr. Pirangi informed the police that he suspected Gauci had utilised a “blowtorch” to ignite his victim.

It appeared to be he was holding a lit blowtorch in his right hand and an aerosol spray in his left,’ he said. 

‘I could hear the blowtorch burning and the flame was blue extending out about 30cm. I knew it was a blowtorch because I’ve used one before to light my barbecue.’


Gauci, facing charges of attempted murder, intentionally causing serious injury, and conduct endangering life, is anticipated to enter a plea of not guilty as his preliminary hearing concludes this week. It is reported that Gauci intends to challenge the charges, citing self-defense as his grounds.

Gauci’s barrister pointed out he will attempt to have his client bailed so he can await his Supreme Court trial back in the community.

Appearing in court via video link from his jail cell on Wednesday, Gauci, clad in green prison attire, exchanged smiles and waves with his mother, who was in the courtroom.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
The Werrribee News editorial team is managed by Austech Media Inc and the journalist at Tech Business News - Australia
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