Two people who were found in a house after a fire were dead before the blaze began, Dunedin police have revealed.
The bodies of Anastasia Margaret Neve, 35, and David Ian Clarke, 49, were found inside the Wesley St, South Dunedin, property, after last week's fire.
The incident was originally believed to be a fatal fire but today police say they were dead before the blaze broke out.
"Police are now treating the deaths as a double homicide and evidence suggests that they died before the fire started," Detective Inspector Steve Wood said today.
A man, 46, will appear in Dunedin District Court today charged with arson. The Dunedin man was remanded in custody by consent and granted interim name suppression by Justice of the Peace Russell Atkinson until his next appearance in three weeks.
Wood said the man was known to the victims.
"However, police are not releasing the cause of death at this time as those details are significant to the investigation and public release could later comprise evidence."
When asked if drug links were part of a motive for the suspected killings, Wood said it would form part of the police evidence.
He confirmed police were familiar with the address and the occupants before the fire, but declined to say why they were known to police.
Detectives were particularly interested in sightings of people, vehicles and motorbikes, near the Wesley St scene in the early hours of January 22.
Dozens of tributes for the deceased pair have been shared on social media, with many calling Neve a "beautiful" soul.
"[Rest] in peace Anastasia you will be missed a lot by family and friends," one poster wrote. "This is sad you are so young and gone too early."
One woman said Neve was "the most amazing friend anyone could have ever asked for".
"You were always there for me through thick and thin always guiding me to be the best I could be. I will always remember the great times we had the laughs and even the tears.
"Thank you for always being you, a gentle soul with endless love for your friends and family. Fly free now pretty lady you will forever be in my heart and forever in my thoughts."
Witnesses saw heat from flames smashing windows and smoke billowing from the roof of the one-storey wooden property in Wesley St about 5.10am on January 22.
Neighbour Dylan Ryall said he went outside as soon as he was alerted to the fire by his step-mother.
"First we saw smoke coming off the roof, then the front window ... actually blew out - flames were coming out the side of it.''
Soon after, the back window of a neighbouring property also blew out, he said.
He could see the glimmering of fire, but it was mostly inside the building.
- Additional reporting Otago Daily Times