A homicide investigation is under way into the death of a north Queensland woman who spoke with police officers hours before her home erupted into flames.
The 47-year-old Ayr woman died in hospital from severe burns after her house was gutted by a fire that police said was “probably deliberately lit” early on Tuesday morning.
Police said a neighbour received care for smoke inhalation after rescuing the woman’s partner, a 65-year-old man, from the home.
The 65-year-old remains in the Royal Brisbane and Women’s hospital with severe burns, with police yet to speak with him.
Several hours earlier, police attended the home after a call relating to a “mental health matter”.
“Police received a call in relation to some comments that were made at the residence so they went and attended and spoke to both residents that were there at the time,” acting chief Supt Chris Lawson said.
Police are yet to determine the cause of the fire, but Lawson said “it was established the fire was more probably deliberately lit, so we’ve commenced a homicide investigation”.
Police have launched a separate investigation into the interactions the couple had with police prior to the woman’s death. The investigation will be overseen by Queensland’s corruption watchdog, the crime and corruption commission (CCC).
“So police did attend the welfare check [and] at that stage police received assistance from the Queensland ambulance service to conduct investigations,” Lawson said.
“As a result of that, they left both parties at the address.
“And that’s why we have the ethical standards command and the CCC overviewing the investigation into that initial interaction with the couple.”
The woman’s family has requested that media do not use her name or image in reports about her death.
In Australia, the national family violence counselling service is on 1800 737 732. In the UK, call the national domestic abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247, or visit Women’s Aid. In the US, the domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Other international helplines may be found via www.befrienders.org