Burning death not treated as homicide

16:00, Feb 09 2014

The death of a man who was so badly burnt he could not be formally identified is not being treated as a homicide.

Police are working with translators to try to piece together the events that left a Palmerston North man dead with extensive burns to his body, and a woman seriously injured with stab wounds.

The Russell St house where Friday night's violence occurred was occupied by a large family of Chinese descent. The Armed Offenders Squad was called at about 7pm after people reported yelling from the address.

The body of the dead man, who was in his late 60s, had been so badly burnt that formal identification was expected to take some time.

A post-mortem was being conducted yesterday.

The woman, who is in her mid-30s, had a second round of surgery in Palmerston North Hospital last night for stab wounds to her face and upper body, and remains in a serious but not life-threatening condition.


Police have not yet been able to speak to her.

The pair were related, but it was not yet known how.

A neighbour said a young couple with two sons, aged 1 and 5, lived at the house. A set of grandparents and another adult, a brother of one of the couple, with his twin daughters, were staying with them.

Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Sheridan said the focus was on locating any weapons in the scene examination, which they expected to be completed yesterday.

"Another key focus for us is determining the series of events that led up to this tragic incident and understanding the family dynamic.

"This has been a horrific time for the family and they are completely devastated at what has happened."

There was no record of previous police attendance at the address and police were not seeking anyone else. 

Fairfax Media