Police say they are now confident that the fire which killed twin three-year-old girls Lailani and Aisha Dubois in Batlow last week on Monday was an accident.
“We’re as comfortable as we can be that there’s no suspicious circumstances,” said Superintendent Bob Noble.
“It was happenstance or tragic misadventure. The mother has assisted police and we’ve got a lot more detail than we had last week, and with the gathering of that information we’re a bit more comfortable with the original expression in the way it played out.”
Supt Noble said it had taken some time for the grieving mother, 29-year-old Tanyka Ford, to be able to “download” all the information and be able to express the events of that day to police. He said the post mortem which has been conducted corroborates Ms Ford’s version of events.
“She gave us the information from ground zero, but it takes time when a person’s in profound shock and still dealing with grief to think things through and their emotions come back down to something close to a normal level, which then allows them to articulate what happened.
“It’s hard, a painstaking process and it’s not unusual to take several goes to eek out all the information that’s there to be had.”
Supt Noble said the evidence at the scene supports Ms Ford’s memories that the fire started “with a pillow or something similar that caught on fire.” Ms Ford then removed the burning item from the home, but the fire spread while she was outside and quickly consumed the home.
Ms Ford was unable to re-enter through the back door because of the flames and unable to enter the front door because it had locked itself. She and her six-year-old son were locked outside while the girls were trapped inside.
Emergency personnel later forced entry through the front door, but were unable to save the girls.
Supt Noble said there was an abundance of unhelpful speculation and pointed questioning “particularly from the media,” which didn’t bias investigators, but did have a negative impact on the family and local community.
“I was never signed on with that way of thinking,” he said, referencing slanted questions which he received from metropolitan-area journalists.
“I had an open mind but there was a lot of pointed questioning, but myself and obviously the investigators don’t go down a road that easily and investigators have assembled all the information and they’ll pass that on to the coroner.
“Particularly from some in the media, there was a lot of interest as to whether someone was culpable. We don’t come at it from that angle.”
Supt Noble said investigators are “pretty professional at blocking those things out,” but said it quickly gets circulated amongst communities and “can be very harmful for the family and bereaved relatives and friends.”