A Queensland woman who was found dead in her home next to her ex-partner in the early hours of Monday morning has reportedly contacted police “daily” in the lead up to her death.
Two bodies, believed to belong to Doreen Langham and her ex-partner Gary Hely, were discovered at a unit in Browns Plains in Brisbane’s south after a suspicious fire tore through the property.
Queensland Police have confirmed they were called to the address after 9pm on Sunday but did not arrive at the complex until after midnight.
Ms Langham’s call to triple-0 was taken by a civilian worker and tasked as “non-urgent”, according to The Courier-Mail.
When officers did arrive at the address, they conducted “some inquiries” before leaving. It is not known if the officers spoke to Ms Langham.
Emergency services were called back to the gated community just four hours later after Ms Langham’s home exploded in flames.
Police confirmed Ms Langham had been granted a court-ordered domestic violence order against Mr Hely earlier this month.
Ms Langham’s neighbours told The Courier-Mail the 49-year-old had been contacting police “daily” in the lead up to her death, with security footage and reports of Mr Hely breaching the DVO.
Chief Superintendent Brian Swan confirmed police had received reports of Mr Hely breaching the DVO multiple times in the weeks before the tragedy.
“As you know, with a coronial investigation, we are limited in the details we can provide as the coronial process is an independent process. It will examine the entirety of the situation with the couple, their relationship and the police interactions from the early hours on Monday morning,” he told reporters.
“I am aware that some reports of breaches were made, again the full extent of those breaches and the investigations made in relation to them, will form part of the coronial brief and will be overviewed by the State Coroner.”
Chief Superintendent Swan said Ms Langham had been providing police with information on the breaches, “which may contain CCTV”.
“Any situation involving domestic and family violence is concerning to us,” he said.
Preliminary investigations suggested the blaze was “suspicious” and was deliberately lit, and police are working to determine the events leading up to the fire.
Ms Langham’s death has sparked calls for reforms and greater protection for those suffering from domestic violence.
Journalist and founder of anti-domestic violence group the Red Heart Campaign, Sherele Moody, posted a series of tweets calling for police and courts to do more to combat domestic violence.
“Doreen did everything by the book and yet she is dead. She made all the necessary steps to leave her abuser, including asking the court for protection,” Ms Moody wrote.
“She had changed her locks and was living in a secure gated community. What more could she have done? Nothing.
“What more could have authorities done? They could have placed a tracking device on the killer – but that rarely happens in Australia. We know that leaving a relationship is the most dangerous time for a woman.”
She said Australia wasn’t doing enough to protect domestic violence victims from their perpetrators.
“Our Federal Government does little more than tinker at the edges and make questionable decisions such as abolishing the family court,” Ms Moody continued.
“The sad thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way. RIP DOREEN LANGHAM!”