8 March 2022

Woman allegedly used deodorant spray in 'rudimentary flamethrower' attack

| Albert McKnight
ACT Law Courts Photo: Michelle Kroll Region Media

Lauren Freshwater, 36, was refused bail after she was charged with several offences. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

An Airbnb cleaner was refused bail after she was accused of using Lynx deodorant spray as a “rudimentary flamethrower” during an alleged attack on a woman.

On Monday (7 March), prosecutor Hannah Lee told the ACT Magistrates Court allegations contained in court documents detailed what appeared to be a “sustained episode of escalating violence” by 36-year-old Lauren Freshwater.

Freshwater, the complainant and the latter’s friend were in a Canberra apartment on Saturday (5 March) when they allegedly had an argument.

Freshwater allegedly punched the complainant in the head multiple times, then picked up a can of Lynx deodorant and a cigarette lighter, used the lighter to ignite the spray, and pointed the flame towards the two other women.

Ms Lee described it as a “rudimentary flamethrower”.

The complainant and friend fled the apartment, but when the complainant returned Freshwater allegedly threatened to kill her.

She was charged with assault, using a flammable liquid in dangerous circumstances and making a threat to kill.

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After applying for bail, her Legal Aid lawyer Mr Chen said his client worked as a cleaner for Airbnb homes and, as she lived three hours away from the ACT in Bomaderry, NSW, the likelihood of her committing an offence if released on bail was very small as she was not going to be near the complainant.

Ms Lee alleged Freshwater’s threat to kill the complainant was followed by a threat to kill herself.

She said while this allegation may have been a “flamboyant threat”, it was taken seriously and if she was “undeterred by death itself” it was hard to see what bail conditions could stop her from offending if released.

She also alleged Freshwater had not been deterred by the presence of the friend or her and the complainants’ screams.

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Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker said Freshwater had an extensive criminal history, including numerous assaults.

She said she could not be satisfied Freshwater would not be a risk to the complainant if released, even at a distance, nor that she would comply with bail conditions.

Bail was refused and Freshwater was remanded in custody to next appear in court on 29 March. She has not entered pleas.

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