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Man who set fire to rival jumping castle businesses will spend 11 years in jail

The Judge said his actions went further than just damaging physical property. Photo: Pexels

The Judge said his actions went further than just damaging physical property. Photo: Pexels

Published Jun 20, 2023


The competitive world of business can be a cut-throat endeavour, but one Australian man took it a notch too far when he literally burned down his competition to become the best in the game.

Former jumping castle business owner James Balcombe, who owned Awesome Party Hire, was the only one left standing, and therefore ranked number one on Google, according to an article published in ‘The Guardian’.

The 58-year-old was sentenced to 11 years in prison. He has already served two years and five months.

Balcombe’s scheme was recently untangled in a Victoria court, which heard that he hired another man, Craig Anderson, to set fire to his own factory because he was afraid the authorities would be suspicious if his company had not been targeted.

When Anderson was taken into custody, he sang like a bird and pointed to Balcombe as being the one responsible for the attacks on the competing companies. According to testimony given in court, he hurled a molotov cocktail through a company's broken window, setting off a massive fire that consumed the building and destroyed 110 jumping castles.

Damage from the fire totalled $1.4 million (R25.5m) and Anderson subsequently received an eight-and-a-half-year jail term.

The article reported that Judge Stewart Bayles said the damage to the other companies went beyond just destroying the businesses.

‘’It impacted the lives and livelihoods of others, and caused significant loss, suffering and emotional trauma.“

IOL Business