Police charge fire victim Kenji Suda’s wife Sakura with murder — (News.com.au)

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News.com.au

December 29, 2011 2:59pm

THE woman badly burnt in a house fire in Brisbane that killed popular marine skipper Kenji Suda has been charged with arson and murder.

Sakura Suda, 43, was charged at a bedside hearing.

She has been remanded in custody and is due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court of February 13, 2012.

A police spokesman said Sakura Suda was under guard in hospital.

Investigations into how the blaze started are still continuing.

Mr Suda became the fifth house fire victim this week, after his townhouse in Runcorn, in Brisbane’s south, went up in flames on Tuesday night.

Mrs Suda was able to escape the devastating and quick-burning fire, but Mr Suda’s body was found on Wednesday afternoon by emergency services among the blackened rubble.

Mr Suda, from Japan, is believed to have been in Australia for 10 years and had worked as a CityCat operator and most recently as a master driving ferries at Big Red Cat.

Witnesses and neighbours said the fire started about 9.45pm Tuesday with a “massive” explosion.

It is believed Mrs Suda was on the top floor of the three-bedroom home when the fire started and she escaped by jumping out a back window, but Mr Suda was trapped downstairs.

As Mrs Suda lay on her front lawn pleading and screaming for someone to save her husband Kenji, neighbours pulled together.

Nathalie Nicolet whisked Mrs Suda away from the fire that destroyed the two-storey home.

Ms Nicolet said she came running outside when she heard Mrs Suda’s screams.

“She was on the lawn just screaming, ‘my husband’s inside’,” she said.

Mrs Suda was taken to the Royal Brisbane Hospital with burns to 20 per cent of her body.

The couple have a daughter, 10, in Japan.

Originally published as Police charge fire victim’s wife with murder.

 

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Suda, Re [2013] QMHC 18 (15 May 2013) — (AustLii)

Last Updated: 6 March 2014

Ms Suda is charged with two offences both of which are alleged to have occurred on 27 December 2011 namely:

(i)  Murder of Kenji Suda; and

(ii) Wilfully and unlawfully setting fire to a building at Runcorn (Arson).

The circumstances surrounding the offences

[2] It is alleged that at 9.43pm on 27 December 2011 police were advised that a fire had engulfed a dwelling at Runcorn which was a two storey townhouse in a complex of 34 townhouses in which Ms Suda resided with her ex-husband. Their eight year old daughter had returned to Japan to reside for a holiday with relatives a week earlier. The townhouse occupied by the Sudas was destroyed by fire. Mr Suda died as a result of his burns and Ms Suda sustained burns to her hands, arms, legs and a fracture to her wrist. Ms Suda had been injured when she jumped from a first storey window.

[3] When the fire brigade arrived, Ms Suda told fire officers that her husband was still inside the dwelling. Initially she stated that she was asleep in bed when she woke to the smell of smoke and that her husband was downstairs. As she rushed downstairs she was forced back by the fire.

[4] Investigations located a petrol tin inside the residence and police spoke to Ms Suda at the hospital about the item. She stated “big trouble” and “I did”. [1] In a subsequent interview Ms Suda stated that she had returned home on 27 December 2011 and had become involved in an argument with her husband at around 9pm involving discussions about his wish that she return to live in Japan and that he have custody of their daughter. She told police that her husband had initiated a divorce which had been finalised in October 2011. She told police that after the argument she went upstairs and picked up a petrol container from inside the guest bedroom and went downstairs to the living room where her husband was watching television.

[5] Ms Suda told police that she then opened the petrol container, threw the petrol on the ground in between herself and Kenji, then struck a match and threw it down in front of him. She stated that there was fire everywhere and that Kenji was screaming and he ran towards the garage. She stated that she then became scared and went upstairs. Ms Suda told police that she intended to kill herself and that she was “supposed to be dying with him”. [2] She stated that she tried to inhale smoke but she gave up and escaped through the upstairs window. She told police she had not discussed that idea with Kenji.

[25] Dr Voita noted that Dr Aboud assessed her as suffering from a major depression with psychotic features and referred her for admission to The Park. Dr Voita stated that she became her treating psychiatrist on admission to The Park on 28 February 2012. At the initial interview, Dr Voita noted the history of poor sleep and weight loss in the preceding two years as well as the auditory hallucinations for about two to six months prior to the alleged offences. Dr Voita also noted the prescription of the antidepressant Pristiq for two weeks prior to the alleged offences. Dr Voita completed a s 238 report but was unable to give an opinion as to whether Ms Suda was of unsound mind at the time as she had been instructed by her lawyer not to provide an account of the alleged offences.