Philip Nitschke forced to correct claim father of gassed family bought euthanasia book
Euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke has been forced to correct his claim that the father of a family believed to have been gassed to death in their Sydney home had downloaded a copy of a euthanasia handbook from his organisation Exit International's website.
Nitschke initially said that 44-year old Fernando Manrique, originally from Colombia, obtained the handbook, called The Peaceful Pill, which contains a chapter about using carbon monoxide.
NSW police reveal that Maria Claudia Lutz, Fernando Manrique and their two children may have died after gas was filtered through their Davidson home.
The claim was first reported in The Australian and was picked up by several other media outlets, and Nitschke repeated the information when Fairfax Media initially contacted him in Amsterdam.
"We keep a list of who accesses the handbook online so that's how we knew. I never spoke to them," he initially said.
But Nitschke later told Fairfax Media that, upon checking the database, it was not Fernando Manrique but a different man with the same surname who had downloaded the handbook.
"Fernando Manrique did not access our book," Nitschke said.
NSW Police say they are investigating the possibility that Manrique, 43-year-old Maria Lutz and their two children Elisa, 11 and Martin 10, died from an "air-borne" gas introduced to their home in Davidson through a deliberate and elaborate system.
The family of four were found dead, with no visible injuries, in their home on Sir Thomas Mitchell Drive on Monday morning, after the children, who both had autism, and Lutz failed to show up for school.
Fairfax Media reported on Wednesday that while initially keeping all options open, detectives are firming on a theory that Manrique orchestrated the murder of his wife and children before killing himself.
Nitschke said the case was a "tragedy" but that the family should not be judged until the facts were known.
"I don't know the details. It sounds like a terrible tragedy …until you have been in someone's shoes you just don't know," he said.
- Sydney Morning Herald