Two Saudi Arabian sisters found dead inside their Sydney unit, died in a suspected suicide pact after they were cut off from their family months earlier, police have claimed.
Asra Abdullah Alsehli, 24, and Amaal Abdullah Alsehli, 23, were found dead inside their Canterbury unit in the city’s south-west on June 7, 2022 – some five years after they fled their homeland and arrived in Australia with $5,000 in savings.
NSW Police believe the pair remained inside the apartment from late February, shortly after they stopped receiving money until early April when they died, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Toxicology reports – which were ultimately inconclusive – found unusual levels of sodium, nitrate and fluoride in the apartment, with a report claiming police ‘strongly’ believe the sisters died as a result of a suicide pact.
‘There was a stream of money coming to them from their (family) that stopped in February,’ one source told the Daily Telegraph. ‘Now, we don’t know why it stopped, but it seems there had been some sort of a fall out with their family overseas.
‘After that, they cut off communications with everybody.’
The new claims are contained in a police report to the coroner.
The sisters received a final payment of more than $4,400 from family in Saudi Arabia on February 3, 2022.
Amaal, who was in charge of the funds, put $960 towards their fortnightly rent and then transferred $2,000 to her sister.
The girls also drove a black BMW coupe, which usually costs upwards of $38,000.
Their rental agent Jay Hu revealed the women were originally ‘good’ tenants when they first moved in two years earlier and had proof of ‘ample’ savings before falling behind on rent in early 2022.
Building manager Michael Baird asked police to conduct a welfare check on the two women, who refused to unlock the door when officers arrived.
‘Eventually, the door was opened and the police stood at the door, asking the girls a series of questions,’ he told the ABC.
‘They said they were OK. They didn’t want any police involvement. And the police left it at that.’
While the cause of their death remains unclear, multiple sources believe the girls had a falling out with their ‘well-connected’ family.
They remained inside their apartment from late February to early April, speaking to their father only once more and receiving a visit from a NSW Sheriff.
The sheriff told the young women they would be ‘kicked out or evicted’ from the Canterbury unit after they fell behind about $5,000 on their rent.
There were also three welfare checks carried out by police in the months before the girls were finally discovered, as mail piled up outside their door.
When the sheriff’s office returned to evict them in June, they found the bodies of the two girls in separate bedrooms of the first-floor unit.
Police found no evidence that the girls were being followed by a private investigator as they had suggested to several of their friends.
Instead, sources with knowledge of the investigation believe the girls were aware of the dangers of returning to Saudi Arabia and decided to take their own lives.
Another source said the combination of chemicals found in the sisters’ bodies could no longer be detected two months later.
‘It looks like it is probably a suicide pact. They have taken a pill or something and just had enough for themselves, because there were no traces of chemicals or anything found in the unit, or anyone else entering,’ they told the Daily Telegraph.
Police are not looking to charge anyone over the deaths.
After coming to Australia in 2017 the sisters lived for a period in the western Sydney suburb of Fairfield, which has a large Arabic-speaking community.
In 2022, they applied for subclass 866 protection visas which requires applicants to have legally arrived in Australia and have valid reasons for seeking asylum.
In their applications, Asra claimed to have been an atheist while Amaal said she was a lesbian, The Australian newspapers reported.
Police were told the sisters attended a girls-only queer event in January 2022.
Both same-sex relationships and atheism is strictly forbidden in Saudi Arabia, where the legal system is based on a strict interpretation of sharia law.
Reports published in Middle Eastern newspapers at the time of the shock discovery said the sisters had renounced Islam.