‘Most shocking act’: Sick reason miner killed two children
An ex-Mount Isa mine worker detonated up to 5kg of explosive, killing himself and his two kids, in "the most shocking act" of spousal revenge to punish his wife over their marriage breakdown, a coroner has ruled.
Charlie Hinder, 39, was "cuddling" Nyobi, 7, and River, 4, when he triggered the explosion in a caravan on the front lawn of the family home in a fireball that scattered debris in a 28-m radius and shocked a nation five years ago.
His wife Kath, also a target of the explosion, had just made the fateful decision to go inside and locate her phone in the kitchen.
She survived but was left injured and traumatised by the blast felt 50m away and heard across the remote north-west Queensland mining city of Mt Isa at 7am on July 28, 2015.
When Kath made it outside, she saw the caravan was "flattened and black", blood was on her vehicle, the house and the caravan was on fire, and rounds of ammunition were exploding in the flames.
The three bodies were "extensively traumatised, burnt and were not visually identifiable", the findings said. Police disaster identification experts had to use DNA to verify remains.
Northern Coroner Nerida Wilson, in non-inquest findings made public today, acknowledged the "courage" and "kindness" of the grieving mum.
"It is inescapable that Katherine has lost her precious children in the most shocking of circumstances and that her life is irrevocably changed,'' the coroner said.
She ruled Charlie Hinder killed himself, Nyobi, and River, and tried to kill his wife Kath, when he intentionally detonated between three and five kilograms of commercial power gel mining explosive inside the caravan.
"He did so as an act of spousal revenge/retaliatory filicide coinciding with the breakdown of his marriage,'' she said.
Ms Wilson said she hoped the investigation into the deaths will allow a greater understanding of the "nuanced nature of domestic violence".
"I am of the view that the homicides of Nyobi and River are a compelling example of 'retaliatory filicides' and that Charlie intended to punish Katherine for ending the relationship," she said.
On the day of the explosion, Charlie shared on Facebook a sketched image of a skeleton hugging an adult female.
Just hours before the explosion, he posted a final message to Facebook; it read: "Don't feel sorry for me or her, feel sorry for my beautiful kids.
"I guess this world was just not for us. I love my kids more than anything in this world, they would have been great.
"We all went instantly cuddling each other. Goodbye everybody."
*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636. The Suicide Call Back service is on 1300 659 467.
Originally published as 'Most shocking act': Sick reason miner killed his kids