Bolton house fire death architect 'had threatened wife'

Bolton house fire
Image caption Hassan Rafie, and his stabbed wife Mahnaz were found dead at home by firefighters

An architect found dead with his wife and mother-in-law after a house fire had previously threatened to kill his wife and himself, an inquest heard.

The bodies of Hassan Rafie, 49, and stabbed wife Mahnaz, 48, were found in the kitchen of the house on Albert Road West, Heaton, Bolton, on 9 December.

Mrs Rafie's mother Dolleh Joseph, 74, died from smoke inhalation.

Coroner Jennifer Leeming recorded an open verdict on Mr Rafie and unlawful killing verdicts on the women.

The inquest heard that firefighters found the couple lying dead side-by-side on the kitchen floor after neighbours had reported hearing an explosion.

Mrs Rafie had died of stab wounds before the fire was started deliberately, the coroner was told.

Someone had poured petrol in the kitchen and tampered with the gas supply, causing a leak.

'Death threats'

Greater Manchester Police said they believed no-one else was involved.

Mrs Rafie's friends said she told them she wanted a divorce and one said her husband had stated: "If you leave me, I will kill you and myself."

But Dr Ommid Rafie, one of their sons, said evidence from a pathologist showed his father had severe undiagnosed heart disease.

He told the court it was possible his father collapsed after seeing his wife stabbed to death and had then succumbed to the smoke.

The coroner told the sons: "I have been greatly impressed by the courage and dignity shown by yourselves and by the family."

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