A POST-MORTEM has revealed the victims of a car fire in Thorpe Bay burned alive following confirmation by police it was the result of a murder-suicide.

Post-mortem examinations were conducted on the remains of Catherine Mhlaba, 45, and her 16-year-old son Bekithemba ‘Beki’ Ali, of Blyth Avenue, Shoebury, today. Their bodies were found in a burnt out Vauxhall Vectra on Thorpe Bay Esplanade on Tuesday evening.

The forensic pathologist recorded the preliminary cause of death as burning and inhalation through combustion and the bodies were formally identified. 

Southend police district commander Insp Matt Bennett said he would not reveal details of the investigation out of respect for the family, but confirmed all the evidence pointed to the suggestion Ms Mhlaba, 45, of Blyth Avenue, Shoebury, had started the blaze.

Insp Bennett said: "A murder-suicide is where all the facts are pointing.

"That's the conclusion the senior investigative officer has come to and it is supported by her peers. There is no credible theory to the contrary."

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Superintendent Tracy Hawking, of Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "I would like to extend my condolences to the family and friends of Catherine and Beki  at this sad and difficult time. I can confirm I am satisfied there are no other persons involved in the deaths of Catherine and Beki and a file will be prepared for Her Majesty's Coroner.”

An inquest into the deaths of Catherine and Beki is due to be opened on Monday. Tributes to Ms Mhlaba and Beki are in Today's Echo.