Grim claim on dad charged with kids’ deaths

The fatal house fire killed three children. Picture: NewsWire/ Simon Bullard.

A western Sydney father is alleged to have lit a blaze using accelerant and blocked his family from fleeing, killing three of his children, police say.

The 28-year-old man has been charged with murder and attempted murder following a horror house fire at Lalor Park on Sunday that has sent ripples through the community.

Detective Superintendent Daniel Doherty on Thursday described the alleged incident as “one of the worst cases of filicide” in NSW in recent memory.

“We will allege that the doors had been locked, and as a result, prevented those inside, the occupants, to escape the fire,” Superintendent Doherty said on Thursday.

He said it woull be alleged the man used an accelerant to light several fires inside the home in the early hours of Sunday.

Two boys, aged 2 and 6, died despite being rushed to Westmead Hospital and a five-month-old girl was declared dead at the scene.

It is alleged the father deliberately prevented rescuers from entering a burning Sydney house as the fire killed three children and left four others in hospital.
It is alleged the father deliberately prevented rescuers from entering a burning Sydney house as the fire killed three children and left four others in hospital.

Their mother, 28, three boys aged 4, 7 and 11 and a nine-year-old girl were also taken to hospital after managing to escape the blaze when saved by a neighbour.

Superintendent Doherty said the neighbour “courageously” forced his way into the house and was able to save two of the boys before going back in.

“He then went back in and saved the nine-year-old girl, at the same time as the mother, and attempted to try to save the 11-year-old … We will allege that was prevented by the 28-year-old man,” he said.

The neighbour also called triple-0 and responding police forced their way into the burning house before wrestling with the man, police have alleged.

“They also had to force entry, had to wrestle with this man and wrestle the boy from his grasp as he was holding on to him, allegedly, and the boy was then rescued,” Superintendent Doherty said.

“The man was then, after some resistance, arrested as well.”

Police say they are investigating information that the man was brandishing a sharp weapon during the incident.

The woman has since been discharged, and the children remain in hospital in a stable condition.

Police said on Thursday they hoped the children would be discharged in the next several days.

After the fire, the man was for a period in an induced coma after suffering burns to his skin and throat, and injuries related to smoke inhalation.

He woke on Thursday and has been charged with three counts of murder (DV), five counts of attempted murder and destroy/damage property with intent to endanger life.

The victims cannot be identified for legal reasons.

The man remains under police guard at Westmead Hospital.

The man’s matter was briefly mentioned in Parramatta Local Court on Thursday morning and his solicitor, Ben Wilcox, did not make an application for bail.

The man did not appear on screen via AVL. His matter was adjourned until September.

A 28-year-old dad has been charged following a fatal house fire in Western Sydney. Picture: NewsWire/ Simon Bullard.
Three children have died as a result of the blaze, including a five-month-old girl. Picture: NewsWire/ Simon Bullard.
Three children were killed. Picture: NewsWire/ Simon Bullard.

Police have also taken out an AVO on behalf of the woman and the children who are alive.

The AVO prevents the man from contacting his alleged victims, going within 500m of where they live or work or approaching any school or childcare centre they attend.

He is also prevented from possessing any firearm.

It will be alleged that the man attempted to kill his young family following a domestic argument or dispute.

The man did not have a police record but police had been called to the property for a welfare check late last month.

However, Superintendent Doherty said there “was no indication of any issues” on that occasion.

The mother visited a makeshift memorial outside the fire-damaged home on Tuesday afternoon,

Still wearing her hospital bracelet, the woman wiped away tears.

NSW Police had blocked off the street and reportedly escorted her home following the 30-minute visit.

The family’s neighbour, Jarrod Hawkins, has launched an online fundraiser to aid the woman and her children.

“I am a neighbour of the house. We are looking for donations for a very young family that survived a house fire and lost everything they had including 3 young siblings,” Mr Hawkins says on the GoFundMe page.

“Although they have lost everything we are trying to help them get back on their feet with clothes, housing and general costs.”

As of Thursday morning, more than $27,000 had been donated.