Woman's body found after house fire

A woman was left with serious head injuries and a man was found dead after a house fire followed a domestic incident in west Auckland yesterday morning.

The circumstances of the man's death and the cause of the fire are not yet known, but the woman was last night in a stable condition in Auckland Hospital.

Shortly before 9am, emergency services were called to the property on Makora Rd, Massey, after a neighbour reported a woman had been assaulted by a man.

It was followed by reports of an explosion from the house, which sparked a fire.

The woman, aged in her mid-40s and of Chinese descent, fled to a neighbour's house following the assault.

Firefighters tackling the blaze found a man's body in the downstairs garage of the house. He was also aged in his 40s and of Chinese descent, police said.

"At this point we believe the incident is domestic-related. The body in a lower part of the address is the male partner of the female who was assaulted," detective senior sergeant James Bothamley said.

"At this point in time we are not seeking anybody else in relation to this incident."

It is believed a number of painting supplies and other flammable materials provided fuel to the fire, but it was not yet known how it started, Mr Bothamley said.

"Fire scenes are notoriously complex to investigate and it will be sometime before we know exactly what took place in the lower part of the house."

The circumstances surrounding the man's death were still unknown.

"At this stage what we have is a body in a garage and we're still investigating it."

The pair lived at the property where the fire took place and are believed to have adult children from previous relationships who do not reside at the home.

Police had received no previous calls for domestic-related incidents to the address, Mr Bothamley said.

However, one neighbour spoke of hearing "a bit of a fracas, somewhere in the vicinity" a few days ago.

"A woman's voice ... and then a noise like a piece of furniture being knocked over or something," Milli Bell said, describing the incident.

"It didn't go on for very long."

The man and woman who lived at the house were a "very quiet couple", who had moved to the area about a year ago, Ms Bell said.

Another neighbour who also saw the smoke admitted she felt worried to leave her home following this most recent violent incident in west Auckland.

It follows four murders across the district in the past month.

- By Patrice Dougan of APNZ

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