Monster father tried to also kill ex-wife in murder-suicide
SCHOOL lunches remained on a kitchen bench, uniforms still folded, as a North Queensland mother was confronted with the blackened, mangled scene of a caravan explosion where her sleeping children perished.
This was the confronting scene of a shocking murder-suicide where Katherine Hinder's ex-partner killed himself and her two children, Nyobi, 7, and River Hinder, 4, in 2015 in an act of "spousal revenge" coinciding with the breakdown of their marriage two months earlier.
The Coroner's Court of Queensland released the findings of the investigation yesterday and detailed the extent of emotional abuse, industry mistakes and how the children may have spent their final moments before they were murdered by the monster who was meant to protect them at all costs.
The shocking murder happened after the Mount Isa mother finished a night shift at Xstrata Mine, now Glencore, and went to wake up her children for school who were sleeping in a caravan with their dad on the front lawn.
Instead of usually knocking on the caravan door, she decided to text her ex-partner in a thoughtful effort to not disturb the neighbours.
Seconds later, she was knocked over by the force of an explosion that erupted from inside the caravan.
The man, Charlie Hinder, 39, hooked up commercial grade gel mining explosives he stole from Xstrata Mine and intentionally lit the ignition. He had intended to also murder Katherine. He made a confronting social media statement in the hours before the murder claiming he was sorry, saying goodbye and that they "went instantly cuddling each other".
Several comments were made to the post, but none of the users called police.
Hinder had a history of experimenting with explosives and Katherine found a stash in their home years prior.
North Queensland Coroner Nerida Wilson found history of extensive domestic violence by Hinder, including threats of self-harm, threats of harming Katherine and the children and manipulating people into thinking he was a victim.
The report also found that police knew about the emotional abuse on multiple occasions and showed a "limited awareness" regarding the dynamics of domestic violence, despite a senior officer standing by his staff.
The Department of Child Safety were also aware of the domestic violence and Katherine's fears that Hinder would hurt their children, but the report found the department did not assess the risks.
Despite this, the report found Katherine thought she was taken seriously by police when reporting domestic violence.
The Coroner also concluded that Hinder stole about 5kg of explosives from the mine site when security systems at the mine were not sufficient. Significant reforms have since taken place at the mine, including moving away from a manual access system to an electronic version, and ramping up security on explosive storage facilities.
Glencore was contacted for further information about its psychological assessments on workers, but did not wish to comment other than to express "deep sorrow at this tragedy and convey our condolences to the children's mother and family".
Ms Wilson closed the investigation by extending her condolences to Katherine.
"It is inescapable that Katherine has lost her precious children in the most shocking of circumstances and that her life is irrevocably changed," she said. "I acknowledge Katherine's sincere engagement and her courage."
>>If you are experiencing domestic violence, call NQDVRS on 4921 2888 or DV Connect on 1800 811 811.
Originally published as Monster father tried to also kill ex-wife in murder-suicide