POLICE have charged a Katherine man for deliberating lighting the fire which burned and killed a local man last week.
Although initially believing the Wednesday night fire was accidentally lit, police now say the fire was deliberately lit by a 34-year-old man.
A 46-year-old Katherine man, who has not yet been named, died after receiving serious burns to most of his body in the fire at a bush camp in Bovril Street about 8pm on Wednesday.
“Thorough work by detectives uncovered fresh evidence which led to the arrest in Katherine”, Detective Acting Sen.- Sgt Tony Henrys said on the weekend.
The 34-year-old has been charged with manslaughter and recklessly endangering life.
He has been remanded to appear in Katherine Local Court today.
A fellow resident of a bush camp in Bovril Street last week told police a fire, which scorched a small patch of bush and grass about 30-50 metres wide, may have been accidentally lit.
Major Crime Squad detectives travelled to Katherine on Thursday to further investigate the death although full forensic results were not expected to be known for weeks.
“We are speaking with a man who says he was with the deceased man at the time of the fire last night who says it may have been accidentally lit,” Acting Sgt Daniel Ralph said.
He said a fire near the camp had burned a small patch of bush about 30-50 metres wide.
The deceased man appears to have been caught up in the blaze, he said
Northern Territory Police have called for any witnesses to the fire to come forward.
The small grass fire was in the vicinity of United Fuel Station on the Victoria Highway.
A crime scene has been set up opposite Bovril Street, which is across the road from United, in sloping bushland.
“Upon arrival they located a male suffering from severe burns,” Sen.-Sgt Henrys said.
“He was conveyed to Katherine Hospital by ambulance, but unfortunately passed away a short time later.
“A crime scene remains in place with members from the Major Crime Squad, as well as a fire investigator travelling to Katherine this morning.”
The deceased is yet to be identified.
Police urge anyone who may have witnessed the moments before or during the fire, or anyone with any information to contact them on 131 444 or Crime stoppers on 1800 333 000.