'Brave, Beautiful, Brilliant': Inquest Hears From Maria Lutz's Friends

Maria Lutz lost her life in a horrific murder-suicide. Three years later, her close knit friends have remembered the "brave, beautiful" mother.

After hearing horrible and shocking details during an inquest into the murders of Maria Lutz and her children Elisa, 11, and Martin, 10,  -- at the hands of husband and father Fernando Manrique -- on Wednesday the court heard about the joy and love these three innocent people brought to those around them.

They’re a tribe of close knit mums who were there for each other through thick and thin and remain so to this day, just missing one beloved member: Maria Lutz. They knew about Maria’s struggles and her husband’s infidelity long before his dirty laundry was aired in court.

On Wednesday, a Coroner heard from Peta Rostirola -- who along with three others wore colourful scarfs printed with an original artwork by little Elisa Manrique.

Maria Lutz's friend Nichole Brimble (centre) with supporters, arriving at the Lidcombe Coroners Court. Photo: AAP.

“Brave, beautiful, brilliant Maria, Elisa and Martin embodied these qualities. Every day they faced challenges that would make other ordinary men or women sink under a rock,” she began.

Both of Maria’s children had autism and life could be tough, but they were all she needed, according to Rostirola.

“Maria knew that Martin and Elisa loved her and that made her love harder.”

She gave an insight into a life filled with playtime, art and music. Curated by a brilliant mum who was also a fierce protector and champion of disability rights.

“Maria was the epitome if care and grace. Maria could be hilariously funny and yet be the person who’d light the fire in your belly to fight for her and all our children.”

Maria Lutz with Elisa and Martin. Photo: AAP

She shared simple things, too: “Elisa liked Jason Derulo and Katy Perry. Martin was more of an Old MacDonald kinda guy, a gentle and precious soul.”

All three of their lives were extinguished by a selfish man who gassed them to death as they slept and ultimately died himself. Whether Fernando Manrique meant to die, or whether it was an accident, we’ll probably never know.

At the time of his death Manrique was being chased by the ATO, had left just $6 in the family’s bank account and sent thousands of dollars to his 17-year-old mistress in the Philippines. Two suitcases were packed ready to go but the doors of the family’s Davidson home, in Sydney’s north, were locked tight.

But there’s been no tears for him just the people he failed to love and protect.

“The loss of Maria, Martin and Elisa has left a gaping hole in so many lives that can never be filled but we will never give up living our lives to the full because this is what Maria would want us to do,” Rostirola finished.

The inquest will wrap up on Thursday.