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Man guilty of murder after housemate burnt

As his skin peeled off, Victor Graveson was more concerned about protecting his family from the “horror” of his appearance than himself.

“Don’t look at me love,” he told his sister Gloria after being set alight by housemate David Charles Edgerley while he slept in September 2017.

Emerging from his Brisbane house on fire, Mr Graveson’s head and beard was scorched, his clothing was either burning or burnt off and the soles of his feet were bleeding after being hosed down by family.

Still, Mr Graveson found the strength to name the man responsible.

“David Edgerley did this to me,” he told his sister who had come running to his Alexandra Hills house after hearing screaming.

He died three days later after suffering burns to 80 per cent of his body.

Edgerley, 39, was found guilty of murder by a Supreme Court jury on Thursday and received a life sentence.

“I think maybe I was in shock. I just stood there staring at him. I couldn’t even speak,” Mr Graveson’s sister Gloria said in a victim impact statement read on Thursday.

“I will never forget his eyes and the deathly colour of his skin just falling off him, his hair was singed – the horrific sight will stay with me forever.”

Edgerley had told the court that he started the fire in Mr Graveson’s bedroom after hearing voices in the TV, radio and his head and believed he was Jesus and the King of England.

He also held a door shut as Mr Graveson emerged screaming while on fire to stop him from escaping and only let go when struck by a witness.

“You committed a horrific crime. The deceased was at his most vulnerable, asleep in his bed and you set a fire which engulfed him in flames,” Justice Soraya Ryan said.

“In contrast to your cowardice, the deceased bravely told the family and others who had come to his aid what had occurred.

“(And) … he was more concerned to protect his family members from what would have been the horror of his appearance than himself.”

Edgerley claimed his mental state had suffered since a 2012 machete attack and believed he was living in his own TV program like The Truman Show with delusional thoughts about being Jesus and part of British royalty.

He was taking drugs daily and had stopped taking his medication at the time of the attack.

Edgerley said he had no intention of harming Mr Graveson but was trying to create a diversion to escape from his housemate who he described as a dangerous underworld figure.

But a jury took barely three hours to find Edgerley guilty.

“He murdered our brother. (Edgerley) not only took Vic’s life, he ruined ours,” Mr Graveson’s sister’s statement said.

After the verdict, Edgerley offered an apology to Mr Graveson’s family who were praised for their “dignity, poise and bravery” at the trial by Justice Ryan.

“This man they loved was rendered unrecognisable by your crime,” Justice Ryan said.

“It is plain … those that loved him are still suffering raw grief at his loss.”

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