After 18 months of staying "silent" since the devastating death of her twin daughters, a Byron Bay woman is speaking out and demanding an official inquest into the fire that killed her children.
Akira Garton's 4-year-old daughters Ophelia and Tarrow were in the care of their father and were sleeping in a bedroom together with a tall candle burning just metres away. Some time later, the room went up in flames.
"They were engulfed in toxic smoke which ended their young lives while adults gathered around a bonfire about 50 metres away.
"[We had] no warning of the unfolding nightmare," she wrote in an online petition begging for a more thorough inquest into the blaze.
A disabled smoke alarm was later discovered with the batteries removed.
After her former partner shared the shocking news with Akira, the pair drove to the morgue attached to the same hospital where they girls were born.
"It was f**ked because this was where I birthed them," Anika told The Project on Thursday night. "I just screamed and I screamed so loud."
Children's death an 'accident', Coroner announced
After a police investigation, Ophelia and Tarrow's deaths were declared an "accident" and an inquest was not held or requested.
Akira however remains unsatisfied and is speaking out, and pushing the petition to share her belief that an inquest should be conducted. She believes there are still several questions surrounding her children's deaths which have been left unanswered, like why the smoke alarm was disabled.
"I have stayed silent for exactly 18 months out of respect for the police investigation," she says. "But now I am calling on the NSW Attorney General to intervene so that there is a thorough and transparent inquest into the fire"
Akira hopes an inquest would prevent future tragedies in the area and also finally give her the answers she desperately wants.
"Almost a year and a half after my children died, I feel like the system would prefer to act as if my children did not exist," she wrote.
"An inquest is the absolute minimum my two beautiful little girls deserve."
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