A woman has admitted to torching a home and burning a young couple and their three-week old baby alive, following a dispute over sexual services with another renter at the property.
Abigail Forrest, 19, Inderpal Singh, 28, and their three-week old child Ivy Forrest were killed after the fire ripped through the second level of their townhouse and they were unable to escape.
Hayes initially pleaded not guilty to three charges of murder as well as three charges of causing death by arson.
However, on Wednesday, the 47-year-old appeared by video link in Victoria’s Supreme Court from Dame Phyliis Frost Centre, a women-only prison, to change her latter plea to one of guilt.
The Court heard of how Hayes had been with a client at the home in Cook Point, 22km from Melbourne’s CBD on December 2, in the downstairs part of the house, in Melbourne, Australia.
She had returned to the home later that night and set her client’s mattress on fire. She claimed she did not know that the young family lived upstairs and that while her client wasn’t home, they were.
Soon after the fire and her arrest, Hayes sent a text message to her son, admitting to him: “I think I did something stupid”, Nine News reports.
She also sent him an image of the burnt mattress she used to set the property on fire.
The remains of Abigail and Inderpal, who had moved to the property only days before, were found in the ashes.
At the time, Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Kennedy said officers found a mattress that appeared to have been slept on recently as they searched the townhouse.
He added the house was “fully engulfed” when the fire brigade arrived, saying: “The townhouse was raging, particularly at the front and upstairs … [and] with accidental fires that doesn’t normally occur.”
Other townhouses nearby were also damaged because of the fire, which was eventually brought under control in about an hour.
Mr Kennedy added that a neighbour tried to rescue the family, but unfortunately “the fire took its toll and nothing could be done.”
Emily Forrest, Abbey’s sister, created a GoFundMe page to help with the cost of the funerals of the family-of-three which went on to raise nearly £20,000.
Family members of the victims were on video link on Wednesday to witness Hayes admit to the crimes.
She will return to court to enter a formal plea of guilty on November 7, The Australian reports.