Woman charged over Melbourne fire not known to new parents, baby who died

A woman charged with murder after a fatal fire in Melbourne is believed to be an associate of a man staying with the young family, and was not known to her alleged victims.

Abbey Forrest, 19, her partner Inderpal Singh, 28, also known as Indi, and their 3-week-old daughter Ivy were found dead in their Pt Cook townhouse after it was engulfed in flames earlyWednesday morning.

Arson and Explosives Squad detectives have charged Jenny Hayes, 46, with three counts each of murder and arson causing death.

After a brief hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday evening, Hayes was remanded in custody to face court again in March next year.

NCA NewsWire has been told Hayes was known to a man who was staying with the young family in the downstairs area of their Totem Way townhouse.

Authorities have not confirmed whether they had found the man staying at the property but said they were not looking for anyone else.

It is not suggested the man staying at the home had anything to do with the alleged crime.

Hayes’ lawyer, Erin Byrt, also told the court on Thursday night it had not been disclosed to her what her client’s relationship to the young family was.

Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Kennedy previously said investigators had discovered a mattress that appeared to have been slept on recently as they searched the downstairs section of the burned-out house.

Forrest’s sister Emily Forrest gave an emotional tribute to her younger sibling on Thursday and said she had the “biggest, boldest personality”.

She visited her sister’s house with her partner, Joel Martin, to lay flowers and a Peppa Pig toy in memory of the young family.

The family had only moved into the rental property three weeks before the tragedy, the same day 19-day-old Ivy was born.

“She was an amazing mum; she just took to it like a duck to water. I’m so incredibly proud of her,” Emily said.

“She was absolutely smitten. She was so over the moon to become a mum and she did so well.”

Emily said her sister’s partner Indi was a “very loving man” who adored Abbey and their daughter.

Heroic neighbours desperately tried to break an upstairs window with an axe to free the young family but they were forced back by the ferocity of the blaze, which destroyed the house in minutes.

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up to help the family cover the funeral costs.

NCA NewsWire

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