31 May 2024

Alleged Holt house fire murder victim remembered as a loving and caring father

| Albert McKnight
Bol Ador Deng (left) with his brother Akech Deng in one of the last photos taken of him before his death. Photo: Supplied.

Bol Ador Deng (left) with his brother Akech Deng in one of the last photos taken of him before his death. Photo: Supplied.

The family of Canberra builder and Sunday school teacher Bol Ador Deng, who was allegedly murdered when he died in a house fire earlier this month, say they “cannot believe that we lost him that way”.

Bol, also called Kot Ador Deng, died by asphyxiation or smoke inhalation when his home on Giltinan Place in Holt was destroyed by fire in the early hours of 22 May 2024.

Firefighters discovered the 36-year-old’s body while extinguishing the blaze.

Police thought the fire was suspicious and began an investigation, which resulted in the arrest of 38-year-old Atem Marol Deng on Friday morning (31 May). He was charged with murder and remanded in custody.

That afternoon, Bol’s brothers Akech and Kongor Deng, as well as members of the South Sudanese community, told the media that he was “a very wonderful person” and loving and caring.

“He’s a community person and he’s always in church,” Akech said.

“I can describe him as a good person.”

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Akech said Bol’s death had created a terrible situation for his family.

“We cannot believe that we lost him that way. We did not believe that Bol’s gone,” he said.

He also said, “We need justice for Bol”, and thanked ACT Policing for investigating his brother’s death.

two men at a press conference

Kongor Deng (left) and Akech Deng speak about their brother, Bol Ador Deng, outside the ACT Courts. Photo: Albert McKnight.

Kongor said Bol, who lived in Canberra for 16 years, had worked as a builder to support his “beautiful eight kids”.

“Now, eight kids and their father gone – you can’t imagine that feeling,” he said.

Member of the South Sudanese community, Marial Isaac Kot, said he had known Bol for quite some time.

He said he had been helpful, had been a Sunday school teacher in Canberra, and a lot of people were grieving his loss.

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Emergency services had been called to the home at about 2:50 am on 22 May 2024 to find it alight before a body was found inside as firefighters battled the blaze.

Police later announced it was Mr Ador Deng who lived at the property.

five men at a press conference

From left, Marial Kot, Malual Deng, Kongor Deng, Deng Deng and Akech Deng spoke about Bol Ador Deng outside the ACT Courts on Friday. Photo: Albert McKnight.

On Friday, Detective Acting Superintendent Stephen Ladd said Bol Ador Deng and Atem Deng were not related but were both members of the Sudanese community.

“Police will allege that after a dispute between the men that had been ongoing over the past few weeks, the gentleman that’s been charged went to the residence and set the fire deliberately,” he said.

“Our inquiries revealed that the fire was started with the use of an accelerant … we believe it was petrol”.

Atem Deng entered not guilty pleas to his charges and will next face court on 8 August.

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