Man charged over fire that killed wife, grandson

 

A grandfather has been charged with murder after the bodies of his wife and five-year-old grandson were found in a house he allegedly set alight.

The man handed himself into police after the blaze and was treated under guard at hospital before he was hit with two counts of murder last night.

The burnt out property in Bylong Rd in Hillvue where a five-year-old child and an elderly woman died. Picture: Red Dot Media
The burnt out property in Bylong Rd in Hillvue where a five-year-old child and an elderly woman died. Picture: Red Dot Media

The traumatised 27-year-old mother of the young boy begged firefighters: "Please save my baby boy, I beg you" as she fled the fire with her other son, aged 7.

But when fire crews broke in through the rear of the rural home near Tamworth they found the boy and his 60-year-old grandmother dead in separate rooms.

Police suspect accelerant was used to set the weatherboard home in Hillvue alight about 5.30am on Thursday.

Forensics officers later took away a hammer found inside the house.

The elderly man was the husband of the dead woman and the children's grandfather. A mechanic, he had ­recently lost his job after suffering two mini-strokes.

"He called me two weeks ago and said can he have his job back, that he had no money," his former boss said. "But unfortunately with the drought we could not offer him work we didn't have."

He said the man's wife was "a good woman - she was the one that held the family together".

Emergency services were called to the Bylong property around 5am this morning. Picture: SKY
Emergency services were called to the Bylong property around 5am this morning. Picture: SKY

Oxley Police District Superintendent Kylie Endemi said the man was known to officers.

"A 60-year-old man presented himself to police and is assisting us with inquiries," Supt Endemi said.

"We are working very hard to get to the bottom of it … mental health will form part of the investigation.

"This is an extremely sad and tragic situation for everyone involved, for their loved ones, the police, and emergency services personnel."

A man is being interviewed by police after the deaths of two people in a house fire at Tamworth, with a woman and child also injured. Picture: SKY
A man is being interviewed by police after the deaths of two people in a house fire at Tamworth, with a woman and child also injured. Picture: SKY

The mother was flown to hospital in Sydney in a critical condition with her surviving son taken to hospital for smoke inhalation.

One neighbour said the "young woman was outside the house screaming 'please save my baby boy he is inside'. She was wounded herself and was shaking holding a little seven-year-old boy".

Fire and Rescue NSW Superintendent Tom Cooper said fire officers were greeted by a horrific scene.

"They found a woman in the back bedroom and a child in the left-hand side of another room. It was an extremely hot fire," Mr Cooper said.

"For the grace of God it rained days earlier and a static water tank on the grounds of the property had been filled with water enabling officers to put it out."

Neighbour Mary Chapman said: "I met the man on several occasions. He was extremely quiet, he never spoke much to anyone, but his ­missus was lovely."



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