Home arsonist stabs mum


By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A woman under a drug-induced psychosis stabbed her mother and torched her family home in Cranbourne West last September.

Georga Dickinson, 23, pleaded guilty to arson endangering life and to intentionally causing injury in the Victorian County Court.

In the lead-up, a floridly psychotic Dickinson smoked “low” levels of ice for several days.

She stayed up all of the night before on the internet, smoked cannabis and began to believe the government was after her.

The next morning, she hugged her father goodbye as he set off to work.

After receiving phone messages, she panicked and set the living room couch alight.

Her mother was awoken by a smoke alarm. Dickinson said “Sorry mum” as she stabbed her mother in the neck and three times in the back.

The mother shut herself in a bedroom where she heard Dickinson say she’d stab herself.

After ringing triple-0, the mother passed out in the bedroom and was rescued by fire-fighters.

She suffered singed hair, carbon-monoxide poisoning and superficial stab wounds.

The home was effectively destroyed.

Dickinson stabbed herself in the neck and abdomen. She suffered burns as well as glass cuts from a broken window.

She was pulled clear of the window by a neighbour and airlifted to hospital.

She told witnesses that she had wanted to kill her mum and herself.

In sentencing, Judge Meryl Sexton said on 3 September that Dickinson’s severe personality disorder, anxiety and drug-induced psychosis were “inherently linked” to her offending.

This “severe and extreme” mental impairment reduced her culpability.

Dickinson had no knowledge that cannabis and ice would trigger a psychotic delusion. It had never happened before during years of drug-taking, the judge stated.

The accused had fallen back into ice use after losing her barista job during the first Covid lockdown in April 2020.

Substance abuse started from her early teens. Dickinson disengaged from school, absconded from home and mixed with anti-social peers and men with criminal associations.

Her parents observed mental health services weren’t always there to help.

But Dickinson was also not willing to engage, Judge Sexton noted.

Since being in custody for a year, Dickinson had detoxed from drugs, taken medication and engaged in treatment. Her rehabilitation prospects were “reasonably good”, Judge Sexton said.

Dickinson’s parents remained supportive of their daughter.

Corrections Victoria found Dickinson unsuitable for a CCO but Judge Sexton said it was “not in anyone’s interest to release you from prison without a transition plan”.

Dickinson was released on a two-year CCO including supervision, mental health and medical treatment and judicial monitoring.

She was jailed for 366 days, which had already been served in pre-sentence custody.