Australian father was 'having affair with a teen' when he slaughtered family

The family
The family Photo credit: Facebook

Warning: This article discusses suicide and may disturb some people.

A Sydney father was having an affair with a teenage girl and in deep debt at the time he and his family died in an apparent murder-suicide, a court has been told.

The inquest into the 2016 death of 44-year-old Fernando Manrique, his wife, 43-year-old Maria Lutz, and their two young children, began on Monday at the New South Wales Coroner's Court.

Senior counsel Adam Casselden told the inquest that Manrique had been in a "serious relationship" with a 17-year-old girl in the Philippines, reports Yahoo News.

The teen told Australian police she met Manrique at the bar where she worked, and that he told her to quit her job and let him support her financially.

"[She] said Fernando intended to buy her a property, but never did so," said Casselden.

According to Detective Sergeant Timothy Pooley, Manriques finances were in "dire straits" during this time. He owed $15,000 (NZ$15,825) to the tax office, $28,000 (NZ$29,540) in credit card debts, and two mortgages totalling over $500,000 (NZ$527,500).

His wife had also asked him for a divorce, and was "looking forward to life without Fernando", said Pooley. Casselden said it appeared Manrique intended to die alongside his family. 

Ten days before the family's deaths, Manriques purchased two cylinders of carbon monoxide, and arranged for them to be delivered to a friend, reports Yahoo News.

He also visited Bunnings four times in four days to purchase more equipment. The inquest will look into the supply, delivery and storage of the carbon monoxide.

"A real concern is the relative ease with which Fernando was able to source the carbon monoxide," said Casselden.

The inquest will continue before deputy state coroner Elaine Truscott.

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