Qld murder accused freed after new info

Nick Gibbs |

Police have dropped murder charges against a 28-year-old man who was arrested over the deaths of two people after a house fire south of Brisbane.

The bodies of the 68-year-old woman and 73-year-old man were found in the burnt-out remains of a Collingwood Park home on January 23, with post-mortem results showing evidence of violence.

The man had been charged with two counts of murder, one count of arson and one count of unlawful use of a vehicle on Sunday morning, before the charges were dropped later in the day.

“Following investigations conducted this afternoon and new information provided to police, investigators have discontinued proceedings against a 28-year-old Goodna man, while this information is examined further,” Queensland police said in a statement.

The man has now been released from custody.

Police are still looking for two vehicles, a green dual-cab ute and a black Mercedes Benz.

They are also seeking to speak with anyone who was at Kruger Shopping Village, Redbank Plains or Hannant St, Collingwood Park on the morning of January 22.

The couple – who have been identified as Joe and Christine Stephan – were found in the lower level of the home that caught alight early last Sunday.

Police said the two were not killed by the fire.

“We have identified that Joe and Christine died from significant injuries caused during an act of violence, and not as a result of the fires,” Detective Inspector Heath McQueen said on Sunday.

The couple had two children, and police are working with the family to provide support and welfare as the investigation proceeds.

On Friday, Det Insp McQueen described the circumstances of the house fire and deaths as complex.

“Post-mortems have been conducted … I am unable to go into details other than confirming their deaths are suspicious, and not contributable to the fire, with evidence of violence,” he said.