Sydney - A school principal is on trial in Australia on arson charges after his school burned down not once but twice, news reports said on Thursday.
A court in Perth, Western Australia, was told that John Michael McHale, aged 50, set fire to the original Meekatharra School of the Air and its replacement to cover up thefts when he was head.
Police allege the fires were set in 2006 and 2008 to destroy evidence of 266 fraud and theft-related offences that McHale subsequently pleaded guilty to.
"The motive for the fires was to cover up his stealing," the prosecutor was quoted as saying in the West Australian newspaper.
"Those financial records were destroyed by the accused to cover his tracks and make detection more difficult."
The school reopened in 2011 in a new building that cost $3.4m.
Schools of the air are correspondence schools that use radio to teach children in remote areas of Australia.