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Letter from Edward Herbert in prison describes ‘love’ for children he tried to kill

In a letter to his partner penned from prison after he doused their two children with petrol and set one on fire, Edward Herbert said he loved his kids “more than life itself”.

“I cannot remember any of what happened on that night and it has killed me over and over so many times and still does to this day, and it will for the rest of my life,” he wrote.

Mr Herbert, who is on trial in the Supreme Court, admits he intended to kill his little girls when he soaked them in petrol in their bedroom at their Doubleview home in August 2015.

But he claims he is not guilty of criminal charges because of reasonable insanity.

In his letter, written seven months after the fire attack and released to The West Australian yesterday, Mr Herbert detailed his anguish over the incident which left his three-year-old daughter with burns to 13 per cent of her body.

Edward Herbert is on trial for dousing two of his children in petrol and setting one on fire.
Edward Herbert is on trial for dousing two of his children in petrol and setting one on fire.Picture: Supplied

“It’s me Eddy, not that crazy person I hate,” the letter reads.

“He’s dead and never coming back.

“WTF happened? I love my kids more than life itself and you, babe. You know how much I love you all.”

In a statement tendered to Mr Herbert’s judge-alone trial this week, his former partner said he was consuming about $50 worth of cannabis a day in the month before the incident.

Psychiatrist Bryan Tanney told the court he believed Mr Herbert was experiencing psychosis on the night of the attack, which could have been brought forward by his drug use.

He’s pleaded not guilty on grounds of insanity after setting his daughter on fire

But Dr Tanney said it was possible the father of three could still have had an episode if he was not smoking marijuana.

Referring to his drug use, Mr Herbert wrote: “They said I have a mental illness and smoking weed is very bad for my type.

“Babe, I’m so sorry and I’ve got to live with this for the rest of my life.

“It hurts so much.

“You know I would love to make it better.”

Mr Herbert said he had “found God” in prison.

“I cannot remember any of what happened on that night and it has killed me over and over so many times”

Edward Herbert

“I know I’ve got a long road ahead for anyone to trust me ever again, but with God’s help and with other people’s help I can prove to the world but most important my kids and loved ones, I can do anything good,” he said.

“I know it hurts me to say it, that you probably hate me and will never trust me again.

“I hate myself every night. I still can’t work out why I didn’t just kill myself.

“Sometimes at night I cry myself to sleep and I feel very angry.”

Mr Herbert’s children were rescued by an off-duty female police officer who lived nearby and ran into the house and dragged them to safety after hearing their mother’s screams for help.

The trial, before Justice Lindy Jenkins, continues.

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