Police have jailed an officer for three-and-a-half years for the manslaughter of his wife, daughter and their three-year-old child after a house fire that killed his wife and left his children homeless.
The 34-year old man was arrested in August last year on suspicion of the manslaughter of his wife who was found dead in her home on the morning of December 18, 2016.
On Tuesday, he was sentenced to three years in prison and three months of community service.
“I’m very pleased to have served my sentence and I am grateful to the Crown for their understanding and support in my sentence,” he said.
Police officer and father of three Alexis Wills was found guilty of manslaughter in February.
During his trial, Mr Wills, who had no previous criminal convictions, had described himself as a father of four, including a son.
He said he was unable to care for his two sons because of his mental health problems and that he felt he had “lost his mind”.
Mr Wills has been remanded in custody while the appeal is heard.
His wife, Michelle Wills had been found dead on the property.
She was a mother of four with a baby boy.
The father of one and mother of two had worked as a police officer and teacher in Newcastle before he was hired as a security officer at a community centre in Newcastle in July 2017.
Mr Justice Michael Lohr, who was sitting at Newcastle Magistrates Court, said Mr Wicks “has been a victim of a tragic incident”.
“The family will be very pleased that his sentence has been commuted,” he added.
A man has been arrested over the death of a young child.
A man is in custody over the killing of a child.
The incident occurred on a quiet residential street in the Newcastle CBD, at about 1.20am on January 1, 2018.
Inspector Paul Hodge from Newcastle Police said police received a call about a fire in the backyard of a property.
“We attended and found the young child in a pool of blood, deceased in the front room,” he told the Newcastle Herald newspaper.
Detective Sergeant John Brown said a 30-year man was taken into custody and was interviewed by police.
“The 30-years-old was arrested at his home, where he had been living at the time of the fire,” he explained.
Detectives were also called to the scene and were unable to establish the cause of the blaze.
There were no reports of injuries to property.
A second man was also arrested at the scene.
Officers were called to a house in the nearby area where they found the children’s bodies.
They were unable to identify any of the deceased.
Mr Hodge said the children were not believed to be in imminent danger, but were at risk of death because of the “complex” circumstances of the case.
He said police would continue to carry out investigations into the death.
At a sentencing hearing, the father of the three children and the man arrested were described as “good family people”.