Aussie murder-suicide

Mum, 4 children among 7 killed

SYDNEY • Three generations of a single family have been identified as the victims of Australia's worst mass shooting in 22 years, a murder-suicide which left seven dead.

They included Ms Katrina Miles, 35, and her four children - three boys and a girl, aged eight to 13. All seven were found last Friday in a shed on a rural property in the small town of Osmington near the Margaret River wine region in Western Australia, police said.

Ms Miles' mother Cynda, 58, was found in the main house, and her father Peter, 61, was found outside, Police Commissioner Chris Dawson told reporters yesterday.

Three firearms licensed to Mr Miles were also found, he said.

Confirming suggestions of a murder-suicide, Mr Dawson added: "I wish to emphasise that police do not believe any other person is involved in these crimes. Police are not searching for other suspects."

Mr Dawson said it was too early to confirm which member of the family was the shooter, saying more forensic work was needed.

Police were alerted to the shootings by a phone call from a "male person" at the property, who was apparently the killer.

Mass shootings are uncommon in Australia and Friday's was the deadliest since a 1996 massacre left 35 dead at Port Arthur in Tasmania.

After that attack, the government banned assault rifles, launched a firearm buyback programme and imposed tight gun registration laws.

Facebook posts by Ms Katrina Miles and her mother referred to the children as all being autistic and homeschooled.

A neighbour told the West Australian newspaper she was woken by gunfire on Friday morning, but thought it was someone shooting kangaroos.

"It wasn't until I saw the police that I thought, 'Hang on a minute'," Ms Meg Janes told the newspaper. "(The shots) were separated out, there was quite a long gap between them."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 13, 2018, with the headline 'Mum, 4 children among 7 killed '. Print Edition | Subscribe