An insight into the devastating mass murder-suicide of the second massacre in Australia since way back 1996
A mother who claimed to be stalked by her ex is amongst the seven victims along with her four autistic children, were among the seven victims who were shot dead in a "mass murder-suicide" in a remote family home south of Perth, Australia.
As reported by the Daily Mail, In a remote farm in Osmington near Western Australia's Margaret River, the bodies of four children and three adults were found when the police were called to the property at 5 am local time. The farm was owned by Cynda Miles and her husband Peter who had a daughter Katrina Cockman, who also had four children of her own.
Cockman had homeschooled her autistic children who were aged from 8 - 13 on the farm itself, where their bodies were found. In regards to hinting at the cause of the murder, Katrina referred to her ex recently on Facebook where she wrote, "my ex does not stop stalking me."
Katrina's friend who was emotionally torn said, that Katrina, "worked tirelessly to provide her children with everything they needed. I always admired her for her strength The kids were kind, gentle, smart and beautiful children."
Later when the bodies were discovered, the police found 2 guns at the scene - and found that if not all, at least some of the 7 had suffered gunshot wounds. They were speechless at the sight of the catastrophe. WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson remarked saying, "This devastating tragedy will no doubt have a lasting impact on the families concerned, the whole community and, in particular, the local communities in our south-west."
"The loss of any life is tragic, but four children and three adults, this is a significant tragedy"
Neighboring residents claimed to have heard gunfire at around 4 am - but didn't do anything about it because they assumed that the gunshots they were hearing must've been from kangaroo shooters. At around 5:15 a "male person" connected to the property called the police seeking attention.
Dawson, who couldn't believe his eyes for a long time, repeated saying, "based on what we do know, this is clearly a tragedy... Police located seven persons deceased. Four children and three adults."
Felicity Haynes, a neighbor of the family, said, "Cynda and Pete… moved out of town three years ago in order to build a house for Katrina and their kids. They had started to build a river farm and had done fabulous work growing their own vegetables and building dams. That's what makes it so tragic. They were building a self-sustainable farm to raise the family there."
Another neighbor claimed to have spoken to the man who lived in the property hours before the body was found. He said, "I was talking to him on the phone last night, I was going to ask him to come over tomorrow. He seemed very vague."
While a third neighbor - a semi-retired farmer - was completely taken aback since he hadn't heard anything unusual the previous night or morning. He says, "There was nothing much I could tell [police], I'd seen who I assume was the father out in a paddock one day, on a tractor. But I didn't have the opportunity to say hello."
Meanwhile, the rest of the shire was devastated and in complete shock. Julia Meldrum, deputy president of the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River spoke in behalf of their shire and said, "It's devastating. It's just shock and devastating for the community. I actually feel like vomiting. The shire has a population of 14,000 people but each town is very close-knit."
The mother-of-two continued saying, "In Margaret River, there's a lot of children and a lot of young families. It'll be devastating for the community. It's touched many people, people I'm sure will know one another. The shire will be doing whatever we can to provide support and whatever else we can do in addition... I've got young children as well. It's just devastating."
While the president of the shire, Pamela Townshend expressed concern in regards to the bad-mouthing of those deceased, the Councillor Townshend said, "There'll be a grapevine happening I'm sure in the community but we can't comment because it's a crime. At the moment all we really know is, it's a small community. Everyone knows everyone to some extent."
"It's an isolated rural area. There's no center of town. Everyone comes into town to do their shopping. Everyone's involved in everyone else's business in a small town so it's going to be a huge shock for this town. The shire will provide as much support as we can for our town, for the community, and for the remaining family members," she continued.
"There are community members already rallying to work out a support response for the family. We're already seeing this rallying. Once again we are faced with this problem in families with gun violence and male violence, assuming it is male violence. We need to have it firmly on the table to talk about it and not just have it as an isolated mental health issue of one person. It's society's problem."
Together the community hopes this incident would spark debates on gun and family violence that would spread awareness and ensure such an incident does not repeat itself.
Flowers left for Katrina Miles and her family outside the WA property where their bodies were found shot dead on Friday morning. pic.twitter.com/RHsqLPCqWV— Lucy Cormack (@LucyCormack) May 12, 2018
This tiny community has about 135 residents comprising mainly of farmland properties and vineyards. Australia had not experienced a mass shooting massacre - or the death of five or more people - since April 1996 when 35 people were shot down at Port Arthur. Hence this incident has been nerve-wracking for the nation.
However, commissioner Dawson assures that this incident does not indicate any sort of danger to the public and that if you are looking for support and information about suicide prevention you are encouraged to seek help and call Lifeline on 13 11 14.