In a suburban street in Perth just after midnight, a woman ran out of her house screaming "Help, help, he's set the kids on fire."
A 43 year old man heard her cries and raced into her house, grabbed Edward John Herbert and put him in a choke hold. "He was out in a couple of seconds" said the man who doesn't want to be named.
While his 3 year old daughter was sleeping in her cot, her father poured flammable liquid over her and set her on fire. She suffered horrendous burns to her face and upper body and is fighting for life in hospital.
An off-duty policewoman living across the street plunged the 3 year old into a cold bath. Her 6 year old sister and 7 year old brother were also doused in fuel but escaped serious injury and were later released from hospital.
The father stood shirtless before Magistrate Jennifer Hawkins, supported by four police officers. Pulling strange faces, he bowed his head, closed his eyes and lapsed into a unresponsive state. Ms Hawkins said he needed to be seen by a psychiatric nurse and will reappear in court on Tuesday. He then collapsed and was dragged out of the dock.
His facebook page says he's proud of his tattooes and loves his Staffordshire Terrier cross Mastiff dog. He also has his childrens' names tattooed on his neck and posted photos of them draped in the Australian flag.
One photo reads "My baby boy asleep, love him to bits" and in another he describes one of his daughters as "my baby girl."
I can hear Herbert now telling anyone who will listen in the future that he was under the influence of drugs so it wasn't really his fault.
The mind boggles.