PERTH • A 24-year-old man has been accused of killing his wife, three toddlers and mother-in-law with a blunt instrument and knives at their suburban family home, where he remained for several days before turning himself in, Australian police said yesterday.
Police charged Anthony Robert Harvey with the murders of his two-year-old twins, Alice and Beatrix, his three-year-old daughter, Charlotte, and his 41-year-old wife, Mara, in the south-western city of Perth.
Harvey, who lived in the home, is also alleged to have killed his mother-in-law, Mrs Beverly Quinn, 73, at the same address the next day.
Western Australia Police Commissioner Chris Dawson told reporters no firearms were used in the attacks, which police believe were carried out with several weapons, including "a blunt instrument and knives".
"We're alleging that the murders took place over two days," he said. He said the two women were allegedly attacked in the kitchen, while the children were killed "in other rooms of the house".
Police found the bodies of the five victims at the unassuming detached family home after Harvey walked into a police station in a remote mining area some 1,500km north of the city on Sunday - a week after their deaths. He is believed to have remained at the house for "some days" before heading north.
A Facebook profile believed to be Ms Mara Quinn's showed her cradling a newborn baby in her arms, with a man reported to be Harvey beside her, and stated that she was engaged in August 2014.
Ms Quinn's sister, Taryn, also Mrs Quinn's daughter and the children's aunt, wrote about her heartbreak at the killings.
"There are no words to explain the emptiness and loss that we are feeling," she wrote in a statement released by police late yesterday.
A neighbour told national broadcaster ABC he had returned from a holiday to "silence in the street". "We noticed that the house next door was pretty quiet, which was unusual," said Mr Richard Fairbrother.
Mass killings are rare in Australia, but this appears to be the third such family tragedy to hit Western Australia in recent months.
In July, a man allegedly killed his mother and two siblings.
A grandfather shot dead his wife, daughter and her four children in murder-suicide in May.