Man charged with murder after house fire kills three children in Lalor Park

Rhiannon Lewin
Murder charges have just been laid over a devastating house fire that killed three children in Sydney's west.

Hundreds of community members have gathered to show support for the mother of three children killed in an apparent domestic-violence related house fire in Sydney’s west.

A man has been charged with murder and attempted murder after he allegedly set fire to a Lalor Park home with his partner and her seven children inside it about 1am on Sunday.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Sydney house fire charges.

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Three children — two boys, aged two and six, and a five-month-old girl — died at the scene.

The 29-year-old mother, three boys, aged four, seven and 11, and a nine-year-old girl, were taken to hospital at Westmead.

A “heroic” neighbour rushed to help, with their actions saving further lives from being lost, police said.

Police at the site of the fatal house fire at Lalor Park.
Police at the site of the fatal house fire at Lalor Park. Credit: Thomas Parrish/AAP

The mother has since been discharged and the children remain in stable condition.

A 28-year-old man was taken to Westmead Hospital, where he remains under police guard.

He has now been charged with three counts of murder (DV), five counts of attempted murder (DV) and destroy/damage property with intent to endanger life (DV).

Detective Superintendent Daniel Doherty told reporters the man has now spoken with police, and has “recovered fairly well”.

“There is a lot to do still ... there is a large amount of forensic evidence to go through and there are a lot of witnesses that have come forward, and we have interviews with the family that are ongoing,” he said.

“But what I can say is police will allege this man is solely responsible for setting fires inside the premises at Lalor Park.”

Doherty said police would allege the man lit fires in a bedroom, before lighting more throughout the rest of the home.

“We’ll allege he lit more fires, through what we allege was with the use of an accelerant that led to an explosive situation,” he said.

“There is a possibility it was petrol used, but we’ve still got to determine that as part of the forensic examination.”

Tributes left for the family of the Lalor Park tragedy.
Tributes left for the family of the Lalor Park tragedy. Credit: 7NEWS

Doherty said the children’s mother had been released from hospital and had returned to the scene, along with friends and family.

“The woman is getting as much support as possible from family and friends as well as our counselling services,” he said.

“Physically she has recovered, but emotionally it will be a long journey ahead.”

Community in mourning

The mother of the three deceased children joined a community vigil on Thursday evening, with hundreds of mourners turning up to show their support.

Neighbours, locals and emergency services were among those to attend.

Deputy NSW Premier Prue Carr spoke with the children’s mother and was able to tell her the community was grieving with her.

“I don’t think there’s any parent in the country that’s not thinking of this poor mother,” she told 7NEWS.

“Anything she needs, we are there to love and support her at this most tragic of times.”

Carr encouraged the community to “wrap their arms” around the family and local area as they come to terms with the tragedy.

Hundreds of mourners turning up to show their support for the victims of the Lalor Park fire.
Hundreds of mourners turning up to show their support for the victims of the Lalor Park fire. Credit: 7NEWS

“It’s amongst the worst thing that I think any of us have ever heard,” she said.

“In homes all across the country, they’re all turning to each other saying, ‘How and why’?

“But for now, the most important thing is we can support this community and this family and these children through this time.”

Court appearance

The man’s lawyer did not apply for bail during a brief hearing at Parramatta Local Court, instead asking for an eight-week adjournment.

Magistrate Joy Bolous heard the man had no criminal record and had previously appeared before court only on tax-related matters.

She put in place an apprehended violence order to prevent him from contacting family members, attempting to find them or going within 500m of where they live.

The attempted murder charges relate to four other children — aged between four and 11 — and the man’s 29-year-old partner, all of whom survived.

The man is due to appear in Penrith Local Court on September 6.

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