A vacant Lyndhurst property was destroyed after a blaze took control of the house on Saturday 23 September.
Emergency services attended the Glasscocks Road address at about 11.30pm.
Eight CFA fire crews from Frankston, Carrum Downs, Dandenong and Patterson River contained the fire within 25 minutes.
An arson chemist attended the scene to investigate the cause of the fire, which is being treated as suspicious at this stage.
No-one was injured and the investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with any information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.
Police were left dumfounded when a vehicle with stolen numberplates was itself apparently stolen while officers were questioning the accused Avonsleigh driver.
They had intended to impound the gold Holden Statesman but instead found a rock and shattered glass in its place at Dandenong Motel car park.
Joel Strickland, 24, of Avonsleigh, told Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on 18 September that he hadn’t returned to the vehicle and had “no idea” where the car was.
“I have no further dealings with the car,” he said.
On his arrest on 1 May, Strickland had handed the car’s keys to police to impound the vehicle, due to his multiple offences as a suspended driver.
After a police interview, Strickland was then given 15 minutes to return to the car and collect his belongings before the car was to be taken away, he told the court.
Strickland made no admissions during the interview, claiming to have bought the car with the stolen plates a week and a half earlier, police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Adam Green said.
The plates had been reported stolen from Pakenham three days earlier.
A co-accused’s red bag holding 16 ecstasy tablets, amphetamines, deal bags, cash and scales were seized from the car.
Also found were two orange steel poles believed to be used as weapons, and a large kitchen knife under the driver’s seat.
Strickland told police that his kids must have been playing with the poles, and the knife was used to fix the sunroof.
He was also charged over driving unlicensed and driving an unregistered vehicle in Pakenham on 5 March, and with the theft of a number plate on 2 April.
He was on a community corrections order at the time.
Strickland’s lawyer said the accused was aware he shouldn’t be driving but was living “something of a chaotic life” under the effects of regular ice use up until 1 May.
Strickland had since found full-time work and was in a more “stable situation” to comply with his community corrections order, the lawyer said.
“He’s managed to stop offending since May.”
Magistrate Jack Vandersteen said he didn’t see the point of putting Strickland back onto a CCO.
“I don’t see what a corrections order can do (for him) anymore.”
Mr Vandersteen noted Strickland’s personal hardships including losing his home and possessions in a fire in August.
Strickland had spent some time in remand custody. He, his partner and children were now living with his partner’s relatives where he was “valued as a human being”, Mr Vandersteen said.
He fined Strickland $1200 with conviction, and cancelled the CCO.
Police unsuccessfully applied to the court for the forfeiture of the Statesman.
“There isn’t anything you can do,” Mr Vandersteen said.
“The car disappeared while he was in police custody.”
A vastly new look Dandenong Rangers outfit will roll onto the court in their opening round WNBL clash with Melbourne Boomers on 5 October, but coach Larissa Anderson is excited about what the 2017/18 season will bring.
With Tayla Roberts, Laia Palau, Kiera Rowe, Rebecca Pizzey, Tess Lavey, Kayla Pedersen and Carley Mijovic all signing up for the club this season, Anderson simply can’t wait to see what her revamped squad can do.
“It’s a great feeling (the season getting closer) – we’ve had three games now and got better each match – we are finding our feet, we have a couple of new faces, so it’s just about getting us much game time and training together to get ready because we are just two weeks away,” she said.
“We’ve got a much better mix of veterans – we are still very young across the board, but you can just tell that we have just that bit more experience this year, so that’s shaping well – the likes of Sara (Blicavs) and Steph (Blicavs) are just getting better and better, as well as Amelia (Todhunter) helping lead from the front.”
While Anderson admits the transitional phase and a new list of players to work with was initially difficult, she now believes it has given her group real drive heading into the season.
“Unfortunately some of the change was unintended with players leaving and retiring – some of it was lifestyle and others just decided leaving, so there was more change than we anticipated, so pre-season felt a bit flat early, and its only now that I’ve realised how proud we should be in playing in a grand final in our second year together,” she said.
“We’re always very particular in who we target because of our strong culture, and that’s a thing we’re proud of.
“I think the girls have fitted in beautifully and there’s a really good feeling among the group.
“Everyone’s really got the fire in the belly and everyone that’s come to us feels that this is the environment to play at their best and they’re all hungry for success.”
With a packed crowd expected on Thursday 5 October at Dandenong Stadium in the WNBL’s first clash in what is set to be a historic season with the new deal with Fox Sports, excitement is certainly building.
“We’ve got Boomers first up and that’s always a great rivalry – we played them last week (in a practice match) and they just got us – it was our first game and it was their third and it certainly felt like that,” Anderson said.
“It’s going to be a different look come two weeks’ time – we always look forward to our games against the Boomers – we’re all great friends off the floor, but once we’re on the floor its game on.”
A very special girl may lead this year’s Pakenham Light the Night participants on the annual walk.
Six-year-old Kassidy Hill of Berwick and her mother Karen have been invited to lead the 6 October lantern parade at the Leukaemia Foundation fund-raiser at the Lakeside lake.
Kassidy is bravely fighting acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood leukaemia, characterised by an overproduction of immature white blood cells which crowd the bone marrow, preventing it from making normal blood cells.
Kassidy was diagnosed in late August 2016, aged five.
Her symptoms were feeling “slightly unwell”, a slight temperature, fatigue and an “extremely pale, odd pale” complexion.
“The GP initially thought it was a cold,” Ms Hill said.
But he took a precautionary blood test and later that evening the family got a call to come in.
“He said immediately that she had leukaemia. Kassidy was rushed to Monash Emergency,” Ms Hill said.
“That time was a vag fog for me and the family.”
For the past year, Kassidy has undergone monthly hospital chemotherapy sessions, fortnightly blood count checks, and takes oral chemotherapy drugs daily.
She’s also had an operation to insert a port to administer chemotherapy directly instead of using a cannula.
If all goes well, the port will remain until treatment is finished in November next year.
Her mother said this was the best case scenario, and said the expected treatment time was extended with each setback – be it an infection or illness.
To minimise this risk, there are certain activities Kassidy cannot participate in.
Unlike her school friends, she can’t swim in public swimming pools or play in indoor playgrounds – the risk of infection is too high.
But despite her challenges, her family is determined to give Kassidy as normal a life as possible.
The family is soon off to a trip to Queensland, and has plans to travel to Disneyland once Kassidy’s treatment is complete.
They are also holding out hope for Kassidy’s grandfather, who was recently diagnosed with lymphoma.
Ms Hill said her father faced a tough fight, but found courage in watching Kassidy bravely fight her battle.
She said her family’s experiences drove home the importance of fund-raisers such as Light the Night.
Ms Hill attended the lantern parade fund-raiser for blood cancers for the first time last year, just six weeks after Kassidy’s diagnosis, and found it a “beautiful, uplifting experience”.
“People think it’s a sad event, but is quite the opposite of that,” Ms Hill said.
“It’s such an uplifting celebration of community support.
“Everyone at Light the Night is happy, and it’s such a great way for the community to get together for a couple of hours and share their happiness.”
Ms Hill said the event had also given Kassidy’s friends and family a purpose.
“Lots of people wanted to do something for Kassidy when she was first diagnosed, but there wasn’t really much they could do and they felt quite helpless,” Ms Hill said.
“Participating in Light the Night has given them a way to help.”
To join Ms Hill and Kassidy at the Pakenham event, visit https://lightthenight.org.au/event/pakenham, or search for your local event at https://lightthenight.org.au.