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Fire murder accused shuns first appearance in court

A man accused of fatally setting another man on fire has refused to appear in court to face a murder charge.

Stuart Lee, 63, was arrested at a property near Daylesford in Victoria's northwest on Tuesday.

He was originally charged with attempted murder, but it was upgraded to murder when the 69-year-old victim died in hospital.

Lee did not appear in Ballarat Magistrates Court when his charges were read on Wednesday and did not apply for bail.

Police will allege a fight reportedly broke out between two men on Tuesday morning before the victim was set alight.

The victim was flown to hospital in critical condition and died overnight.

A committal mention will be held in Ballarat Magistrates Court on June 1.