Two children tragically found dead along with their mother after a deliberately lit house fire in Bonner in February almost certainly died before the fire took hold according to an interim coroner’s report.
However, ACT Coroner Peter Morrison said that their mother, 45-year-old Anne Muhoro, died as a result of the fire due to the “inhalation of products of combustion and burns”.
Mr Morrison has also stated that police have found no evidence of any third party being involved in the deaths of the three people even though this was the initial focus of their investigation.
Firefighters found the bodies of Ms Muhoro and her children, eight-year-old Ezvin Mugera and five-year-old Furaha Muhoro, after a house fire at their Peter Coppin Street home on the morning of February 19 this year.
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Ms Muhoro had been due to attend a Family Court hearing that same morning in relation to a child custody matter but she never arrived.
Police questioned a man on the day of the fire but later released him.
The house fire was deliberately lit with police stating on the day of the fire that several ignition points had been found inside the burnt-out property which they also described as a horrific scene.
In the seven months since the fire, police have been unable to state whether the case was being treated as a murder or a murder-suicide.
The forensic pathologist who undertook the post-mortem examination said that evidence strongly suggested that both children “were deceased at the time the fire took hold”.
However, the post-mortem was unable to determine the cause of the children’s deaths.
In his interim report released yesterday (September 26), Mr Morrison said he had now ordered an inquest brief of evidence be prepared.
“Further decisions about the conduct of the inquests and inquiry will follow upon consideration of that material,” Mr Morrison stated.
The February deaths of Ms Muhoro and her two children left their friends, family and Canberra’s Kenyan community in mourning.
Ms Muhoro, who worked as a software engineer, was born in Kenya but was an Australian citizen. Her children were born in Canberra and attended Brindabella Christian College.
Ms Muhoro had attended Northside Life Church for the past 11 years, with her pastor previously describing her as a gentle but strong woman and a loving mother.
Speaking to the media a week after the fire, Superintendent Scott Moller said the incident had affected everybody involved and that “everyone we have spoken to are heartbroken”.