‘Petrol everywhere’: Horror triple-0 call
"That's the moment I thought I was going to die."
This is what was running through Jacqui Barker's head when her partner of four years threw petrol over her in their kitchen.
Speaking to Nine's Tara Brown on 60 Minutes, Ms Barker relived the terrifying moment she believed her partner, Marc Jacobs, was going to kill her.
The Queensland mum started dating Jacobs in 2011 but said their relationship started to become more frightening over the years they were together.
She said everything came to a head on the night of November 20, 2015, with an argument over their relationship ending with Jacobs dousing her in petrol.
A recording of the triple-0 call Ms Barker made that night gives a horrifying insight into the incident.
In the recording a desperate Ms Barker can be heard saying that Jacobs had "poured petrol everywhere" in the kitchen.
The operator asks Ms Barker if she can smell the petrol before she confirms she can and she is standing in it.
The petrol had splashed onto her face and chest.
She then confirmed Jacobs had left the home, with police and an ambulance arriving seven minutes later.
Ms Barker told 60 Minutes that before the incident her and Jacobs were having an argument that quickly turned hostile.
"He stood right over me. He was right here and he's a big guy. I felt really threatened," she said.
"And at that moment I really feared for my safety. It was at that moment that I felt that he was going to do something to me."
Ms Barker said that she struck out at him out of fear in a bid to allow herself time to get to safety.
"It was as though his mask had finally fallen, and I hit him in the jaw and ran inside and put the kitchen bench between us," she said.
"I hit him to give me enough time to run get myself in a safe place."
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRISIS SERVICES
She said at that point Jacobs left the kitchen before returning with a jerry can full of petrol.
"So he's about two metres or so away from me. And, all I remember is him having a red mower fuel container in his hand," Ms Barker recalled.
"I remember the black lid being thrown off onto the floor. I remember one big swing of his arm, I remember just turning my face and the fuel hit me on the chest, and splashed up into my face and my hair.
The Queensland mum then said she watched as he reached for a lighter and said "I'm going to burn this place down".
"He knelt down and he held the lighter about 20 centimetres from me, looking up at me, looking straight in my eyes," she said.
"And that's the moment I thought I was going to die. And I said, 'Don't be an idiot'. And he dropped the lighter onto the floor. And I think that's what saved my life."
When Jacobs was picked up by police later that night, he confessed to wanting to burn the house down, according to Ms Barker's barrister Clem van der Weegen.
"The police had intercepted Jacobs on the night. And they observed him to be aggressive, smelling of petrol, and that he admitted to them that he wanted to burn the house down because he was sick of it anyway. I thought, 'they've got an admission'," Mr van der Weegen said.
However, in his official police interview six months later Jacobs claimed he couldn't remember saying he wanted to burn the house down or why he would bring petrol into the kitchen.
In a recording of the police interview obtained by Nine, Jacobs tells the police didn't know why he had the jerry can and was "just being stupid".
"It was just a stupid thing that I grabbed cause I was pissed off and I was getting provoked," he said.
He claimed he didn't step up to Ms Barker with the lighter or threaten to burn the house down.
"No, I didn't try and burn the house down and with that I wouldn't, no because I didn't think that lighter works, so it hasn't worked for months," he said.
In July 2016 Jacobs pleaded guilty to wilful damage for the destruction he caused to the home and was issued a $1500 fine.
There was no charge or punishment for the threats he made when he doused Ms Barker in petrol.
Ms Barker said she felt like the institution that was meant to be protecting her was actually protecting him and so she made the decision to hire Mr van der Weegen to help push for a prosecution.
Ms Barker submitted a complaint to Queensland Police about the way the investigation was handled
To gain a better understanding of why no extra charges were brought against Jacobs, Mr van der Weegen called the senior police officer who was reviewing Ms Barker's complaint.
"Did you see the ambulance report that was made on the night by the paramedic who attended in the first instance? He on his report states that female was doused in petrol and threatened to be set alight," Mr van der Weegen said in a recording of the phone call.
"Yeah, well, that's what she's saying," the officer replied.
In the recording the officer can be heard talking about a suggestion that Ms Barker may have been intoxicated.
"There's no evidence in the ambulance report of her being intoxicated. Where's your evidence that she was intoxicated other than Mr Jacobs?," Mr van der Weegen said.
Mr van der Weegen told 60 Minutes he didn't believe the officer was "looking for the facts".
"He was relying she said this, he said that. In other words there were conflicting versions," he said.
Eventually Ms Barker made the decision to bring forward a private criminal prosecution against Jacobs, with the trial set for July 2019.
In January this year Jacobs pleaded guilty to threatening violence and admitted to splashing petrol on Ms Barker.
Noosa Magistrate Christopher Callaghan sentenced him to 120 hours of community service but said that no conviction would be recorded.
Ms Barker said her experience highlights the "significant failings in policing domestic violence".
When questioned about the police response to the incident and asked whether Ms Barker would have had to have been hurt before anything was done Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said "definitely not".
"That is very concerning. I also know the police actually made sure that she was safe on the
night when the triple-0 happened," she told the program.
"We always want to keep the victim safe, and he should be held accountable. I am just of the view that the decisions were made purely around the legislation and also the sufficiency of evidence."
Commissioner Caroll was asked if there could be a "problem" with Noosa Police.
"If that's the case, that needs to be investigated because I expect my officers to have utmost concern for the safety of victims," she said.
"If there is a cultural issue with my officers in terms of domestic violence, that also needs to be investigated because I will not accept that. The organisation will not accept that, and certainly, the community will not accept that."
Originally published as 'Petrol everywhere': Horror triple-0 call