Deaths linked to debt — (The Courier Mail)

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The Courier Mail

Paula Doneman

July 29, 2007 12:00am

A BRISBANE couple who died in a house fire were tens of thousands of dollars in debt, investigators say.

Police said they believed it was a double suicide or murder-suicide and have ruled out any involvement by a third party.

Retirees Elizabeth Hegi, 57, and her husband, William Hegi, 68, were found dead in their rented Brighton home on Brisbane’s northside early on Wednesday morning.

Cut-up credit cards were found in a bin and a police check of the couple’s bank records found the big debt.

Post-mortem tests showed the couple died of smoke inhalation.

Investigators found empty packets of anti-depression medication and sleeping pills in a bin.

Mrs Hegi was believed to be on a pension but police are yet to trace a source of income for Mr Hegi.

Two empty 10-litre fuel drums were found in the kitchen and police said petrol was used to light the fire in the low-set home on Flinders Pde they had rented since 1998.

Police said the couple, who were married for at least 15 years, led a reclusive lifestyle, and were both estranged from their families.

They were found in separate rooms of the house and their beloved pet dog, a german shepherd, was also killed in the blaze.

They did not have children together but Mr Hegi is survived by a son.

Police are waiting on the results of toxicology tests.