A Geelong pensioner who smashed an ATM then set fire to it out of frustration with his bank, causing almost $200,000 in damage, has narrowly avoided a jail term due to ill health.
At 73 years old, Ivan Russell Edwards is frail, with heart, kidney and lung problems. He lives a quiet life, earning $550 a fortnight on a disability pension.
The retired construction worker told the Geelong County Court he "lost the plot" after hassling phone calls from the ANZ tipped him over the edge.
He firebombed the cash machine on Easter Monday, March 28 last year, after being unable to withdraw his pension over the Easter holidays.
Mr Edwards said he was furious with the bank for daily phone calls over an unpaid credit card bill - some of which was racked up while his card was stolen.
The court he firebombed the cash machine at 2.30am and the attack destroyed the ATM, worth $194,000.
The ANZ branch in West Geelong was closed for repairs for more than a month. But the bank decided not to chase Mr Edwards for any more money and it let the damage claim go.
Doctors told the court Mr Edwards' judgment was impaired by being so unwell.
The magistrate put him on a community corrections order, effectively giving the great-grandfather a warning not to do it again.
“It was a stupid thing to do,” Mr Edwards told 7 News outside court on Friday.
“I humbly apologise for everything I've done. It shouldn't have happened.
“I hope to be in a retirement village very soon, where I don't have to do anything any more,” he said.