Help! He’s Setting my Kids on Fire!

Jessica Elphick

Nearly two years after attempting to murder his two young daughters, Edward John Herbert sat in the dock of the Supreme Court and listened as Justice Lindy Jenkins sentenced him to spend the next 17 years of his life in prison.

Three hours before revealing the sentence, Justice Jenkins read out the horrifying details of the five offences Herbert committed on the night of August 28, 2015.

But the benign courtroom could not do any justice to the intensity of that evening, where off duty First Class Constable Stephanie Bochorsky risked her own life in order to save the lives of two innocent children. Her actions were specifically commended by the Judge.

Stephanie remembers the night vividly; she recalls it was a quiet Friday night in front of the TV. A documentary she was watching on a UFC fighter was interrupted by neighbours yelling across the road from her Doubleview home. She got up and investigated the noises. Opening the wooden front door, Stephanie could see her neighbour, Herbert, and his partner at the time, Rebecca outside their house. She recalls Herbert, who was only wearing blue jocks, pacing, and shouting.

“He was just yelling things to the effect that ‘the Maoris are going to get me’ and Rebecca was saying things like, ‘no, don’t be silly, I love you, no they’re not’,” Stephanie recalled.

Satisfied that she didn’t need to call police for attendance just yet, Stephanie sat back down and resumed her documentary, but kept the front door open just in case.

It was just a minute later when Stephanie jumped up and ran towards her front door.

“Rebecca let out this blood curling scream,” Stephanie said. “I just ran out onto my front porch and yelled, ‘are you ok, do you need help?’

“Then she said, ‘he’s setting my kids on fire’.” 

It was those six words that sprung Stephanie into action. In her pyjamas and socks, she ran down her front lawn, over the road and towards the house. As she passed Rebecca, Stephanie yelled for her to call the police. …

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