A woman ‘living in fear’ called police just hours before she was killed in a suspected murder-suicide alongside her ex-boyfriend.
Doreen Langham, 49, died when a blaze ripped through her townhouse,in Browns Plains, south of Brisbane, in the early hours of Monday morning.
Investigations are underway to determine exactly how her violent ex Gary Hely, also 49, managed to get inside the high security estate called the The Promenade and allegedly set the property on fire.
Now it has emerged officers attended Ms Langham’s home a ‘couple of hours’ before the inferno after she called them for help.
Doreen Langham (pictured) is understood to have lived in fear of her partner before the terrifying fire on Monday
Investigations are underway to determine exactly how a 49-year-old man managed to get inside the estate, where two bodies were found in the rubble
Forensic police are seen sifting through remains of a townhouse that was destroyed by fire at Browns Plains
Chief Superintendent Brian Swan said the incident is being investigated as ‘deaths in relation to a police operation’, meaning the fatalities occurred during an active report to police.
‘Inquiries indicate that on the night before the fire there was a phone call made to police. Police did attend the unit at least a couple of hours before the fire,’ he said, the Courier Mailreports.
On February 9, just two weeks before the fire, Ms Langham was granted a temporary protection order against Hely.
And just days before the home was torched, Ms Langham had the locks changed in a desperate attempt to keep her ex out.
But it is understood Ms Langham called police about 9.30pm on Sunday night, six and a half hours before the house went up flames.
She reportedly told officers Hely was outside of her home, but according to a police source, cops did not arrive until 1.30am.
‘The coppers went around and knocked on the door, but when there was no answer they left.[Hely] came back and set fire to the unit three hours later,’ the source said.
The source said Hely was wanted at the time for breaching a previous DVO Ms Langham had taken out against him and raised concern over why it had taken police so long to attend the premises.
‘I couldnt imagine anything being more urgent than an aggrieved calling up that night saying (the man), who is a respondent, is outside my house.’
Her former partner Gary Hely, 49, was also recovered from the blaze on Monday night, 12 hours after emergency services scrambled to the scene
Police have spent hours combing through the rubble searching for clues in the investigation
The state coroner will now investigate the matter- including why Ms Langham’s call was allegedly not taken more seriously.
Chief Supt Swan said he was not sure how many time Hely had breached the domestic violence order since February 9.
Just a day earlier, on February 8,Queensland Police introduced the Service Delivery Redesign Project – designed to streamline how police prioritise matters based on the details given at the time of a call.
Ms Langham’s death, and desperate call for help, have now raised questions about the efficiency of the redesigned system.
The two bodies were pulled from the wreckage of the Myola street townhouse inferno 12 hours after it started, and although they are yet to be identified, police are treating the deaths as a murder-suicide.
As investigators work to piece together their final moments, neighbours told Daily Mail Australia security is strict and visitors must be buzzed in via one of the two front gates leading into the community.
‘There’s one way in, and one way out’, a female staff member said.
Investigatorscombed through dirt and rubble for any clues as to how the fire started – and paid close attention to a yellow canister with a flute sticking out of it that they found in the ground.
The neighbouring property was also impacted during the blaze
Officers appeared to test if another item, which was also pulled from the wreckage, fit inside the canister, which had a lengthy serial number on the side.
A young neighbour said she and her best friend were horrified to learn of their neighbour’s death.
‘I couldn’t even get my car out to get to work, I had to get a friend to pick me up and drop me home because there were so many cops and other cars blocking me in.’
The young woman said she’d come across several ‘interesting people with colourful backgrounds’ living in thecomplex, but always felt safe given the strict security measures.
A staff member in the complex agreed that the community was ‘extremely secure’.
‘This is a super secure estate. One way in, and one way out,’ the woman, who did not want to be named, insisted.
Hely’s car was found across the road shortly after officers arrived on the scene.
Detectives honed in on a metal fence which backs onto the property from a side street, indicating it could be a potential entry point for the offender.
A burnt out car was parked across the street from the wreckage on Tuesday afternoon
The stench of smoke continues to set off smoke alarms in neighbouring houses more than 24 hours after firefighters were able to put out the blaze.
A neighbour said the sound of a smoke alarm woke her in the middle of the night on Monday and gave her ‘quite a fright’.
‘It was definitely nerve-wracking,’ she said of hearing the alarm. ‘I really didn’t know what to think.’
At least two more houses had scares on Tuesday morning.
Detectives were on the scene on Tuesday morning and had cordoned off much of the quiet street.
Detectives were joined by fire inspectors on Tuesday, who assessed the rubble
Detectives spent hours sifting through the rubble on Tuesday morning. The investigation is expected to take days
Police were pictured at the scene sifting through the rubble to attempt to piece together the events
The house next door has also been significantly damaged in the blaze. The side of the light-brick home was painted black from soot.
Emergency services were called to the townhouse engulfed in flames in Browns Plains south of Brisbane about 4am Monday after neighbours heard a woman’s terrified screams.
She was reportedly shouting a man’s name as her home burned to the ground.
Preliminary investigations indicate the blaze was deliberately lit, with neighbours telling police the huge fire spread within minutes.
Fire inspectors are assisting police at the scene.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk addressed the incident during her Tuesday morning press conference.
‘It’s an absolute tragedy, I understand the police are doing a thorough investigation there and look I just have to wait to see what the police say,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
‘It’s just unbelievable this is happening in this day and age.’
An autopsy will be conducted to verify the identity of the remains, though it is understood Ms Langham and Hely remain missing.
The gutted home remains a crime scene on Tuesday, more than 24 hours after a woman and her former partner perished in the house fire. Pictured are forensic police examining the scene