Aussie murder-suicide dad’s secret teen lover
THE secret life of the father who killed his wife and children with poison gas has been revealed with evidence from his teenage bar girl lover in the Philippines.
An inquest into the sinister gassing murder by the father in the Manrique-Lutz family by rigging their home with gas canisters found he took his own life by poisoning.
Coroner Elaine Truscott has handed down her findings into the death of Fernando Manrique, his wife Maria Lutz and their children in their Davidson home in Sydney's north.
The court today ruled Ms Lutz, Elisa and Martin were killed by Manrique, who then took his own life by carbon monoxide poisoning at the Colombian family's Davidson property.
But the coroner's findings also include details of the affair Manrique, who was deeply in debt, was having with a 17-year-old barmaid he met while working in the Philippines.
The findings also say Manrique "would 'hook up' with a lot of girls" while travelling every month overseas, before finally meeting "Jamie", whose life he funded despite his crippling family debts.
Ms Lutz, 43, had been planning to divorce her husband who was weeks away from having to leave the family home when he rigged up the house with CO canisters in October 2016.
The bodies of Manrique, 44, his wife and their children Elisa, 11, and Martin, 10, and the family dog Tequila were all found dead in the family home.
Three years earlier, Manrique was made redundant from his $300,000 job at Fuji Xerox and joined Drake Business Logistics the next year on a significantly reduced income.
Drake expanded into Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines, with Manrique responsible for the latter and required to spend two weeks in every month there.
According to the inquest's findings, his business partner, Grant Mackenzie, became aware Manrique had entered a "serious relationship" with a girl called Jamilyn (or Jamie) in the Philippines. Manrique supported Jamilyn financially, despite mounting debts at home.
Manrique confided in a friend "that his marriage had become strained as a result of the time he spent travelling for work", the inquest findings state.
"He mentioned that he was seeing other women in the Philippines and told Mr Campos that there was nothing left in the relationship.
"However, he also said that it would be unacceptable for Maria to start seeing other people.
"Fernando would 'hook up' with a lot of girls while travelling and would sometimes date girls over extended periods of time.
"Mr Mackenzie met Jamie in the Philippines in September 2016, who at this time had been dating Fernando for about four months.
"Fernando continued to be involved with Jamie until the time of his death."
A female Australian Federal Police detective interviewed Jamie in the Philippines early this year.
Jamie said she was 17 years old when she met Manrique working in a bar in March 2015.
"After spending two weeks with her, he told her to stop working in the bar and gave her money to support herself," said the detective.
"He continued to do this on a monthly basis.
"Whenever he came to the Philippines, he would spend time with Jamie."
Jamie told the AFP detective Manrique "intended to buy a property for her, but never did".
"She also recalled that Fernando was particularly stressed during his final trip to the Philippines in September 2016 and that he drank more than usual."
Mr Mackenzie told investigators that he recalled a conversation with Manrique around September 2016 "where Fernando said that Maria had found out about Jamie and confronted him about it. "Fernando said that he had decided to move out and was looking for a new place in Sydney."
Early in the school holidays in September and October 2016, Manrique moved into a hotel room for a few nights. But on October 2, he returned, "telling Maria that he needed to stay at home while he found somewhere else to live".
While at the hotel, Manrique had opened an account with gas and welding equipment supplier, BOC.
He told a friend he "needed to test the carbon monoxide levels in enclosed carparks, and that he needed tanks of gas to conduct those tests" and asked to store the canisters at the friend's place.
On October 6, 2016, he ordered two cylinders of carbon monoxide from BOC.
On four occasions, between October 8 and 123, Manrique went to a Bunnings hardware and bought the materials to pump carbon monoxide from the gas cylinders into his house.
On Monday 17 October 2016, Maria Lutz's friend, Nichole Brimble became concerned when she failed to arrive at St Lucy's school to work in the canteen and that Elisa and Martin were not at school.
Ms Brimble rang police and requested a welfare check at the family home in Davidson.
At 10.55am, .Senior Constable Cashin and Constable Knight knocked on the door but got no reply. Through a rear window, they could see Ms Lutz lying in bed.
After forcing entry into the house, they found Manrique lying on the floor, grey and unresponsive.
They found the boy, Martin, in his bed, and the dog Tequila unresponsive on the floor.
Ms Lutz was lying in her bed with daughter Elisa beside her.
Police found two cylinders of carbon monoxide gas in the shed behind the house, one full, one empty.
"Whilst it is clear that Manrique intend to kill his wife and children, an issue that arises on the facts of this matter is whether he also intended to die with them," the coroner's report reads.
"Fernando knew the nature of the gas. He knew that it was odourless and colourless and highly lethal. That is why he selected it.
"Fernando had destroyed his computer and hard drives which is consistent with having a plan to end his life and save his reputation in relation to both his extramarital affairs and his involvement in the deaths.
"It may also be consistent with a plan to start a new life. Likewise his transfer of money to Jamie. "However, Jamie told the police investigator that Fernando had never discussed with her moving to the Philippines permanently.
"The transfer of money is more likely to have been a parting gift as opposed to funding a nest egg to share with her."
The inquest was told the "dedicated" and "loving" Ms Lutz was entirely unaware of her husband's plans and that Manrique owed money to the Australian Taxation Office, had $28,000 in credit card debts and heavy mortgages.