Fatal fire factors still unexplained


Someone else may have been involved in a mysterious fatal house fire in Tangoio, a coroner's report has revealed.

Findings were released yesterday into the death of Martin Henry Carswell, whose charred remains were found at his residence in Darky's Spur Rd in November 25 last year.

The home was razed by fire and Mr Carswell died of smoke inhalation and thermal burns.

From a Puketitiri farming family, he had lived in the homestead about a kilometre from the village of Waikoau, west of Tutira, for at least 13 years.

Fire crews arrived just after 6pm and found the remains of a body atop a car in the two-storey home's garage.

His bedroom was located directly above the garage, and due to the fire the bed and the 57-year-old had fallen through to the garage below.

An anthropologist found human and dog bone fragments. Bone fracturing found was deemed consistent with falling on to the car, and not with fracturing consistent with gunshots or sharp force trauma.

Detective Sergeant Nick Clere said two motorcycles had been found against hay bales and pieces of newspaper had been stuffed into the engine and frame of the bikes.

He said there was little evidence to suggest the involvement of another person, yet neither the cause nor origin of the fire could be established.

Smoke inhalation showed Mr Carswell was alive at the time the fire started.

Coroner Chris Devonport said while there were "unusual factors" relating to the death, "including the setting of newspapers as if to create a fire in the implement shed ... and his apparently being in bed in the early evening", there was not enough evidence to suggest he had intended to take his own life.

He said the possibility remained that someone else was involved in his death.

Because police considered factors in Mr Carswell's death were still unexplained, he said they were willing to examine "any fresh and credible evidence that may come to hand in the future".

- Hawkes Bay Today

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