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AN AMERICAN youth pastor has been arrested in the shooting deaths of his wife, stepdaughter and the stepdaughter’s boyfriend in their home on Thanksgiving Day, police said.

Virginia man Christopher Gattis, 58, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

jeanett Gattis and her daughter Candice Kunzeg were killed. Picture: Facebook

Police arriving at the family’s home in the small town of Chester around 11:30pm and found the women’s bodies inside and the man’s body in the front yard, officials said.

Authorities identified the victims as Jeanett Gattis, 58; her daughter Candice “Candy” Kunze, 30; and Kunze’s boyfriend, Andrew Buthorn, 36. All of them lived together in the home, police said.

Neighbours said Kunze recently moved back home from Oregon, with Buthorn joining her. Neighbours also said the family runs a furniture store in nearby Petersburg, the Richmond-Times Dispatch reported.

Andrew Buthorn was murdered by his girlfriend’s stepfather, police say. Picture: Facebook

Gattis was a youth pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, where he was a ministries coordinator for middle school and high school students.

“Members of Grace Lutheran Church are deeply saddened by the loss of life last night as a result of three individuals being shot in Chester, and this tragedy included members of Grace Lutheran Church,” the church said in a statement.

Gattis was being held at Chesterfield County Jail without bond. He was scheduled to appear in General District Court on Monday and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court on Tuesday.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and has been republished here with permission.

IT’S a haunting photograph.

A little boy sits in the gutter dressed in an oversized blue forensics suit. He is barefoot and rests his head on one hand as he listens intently to the stranger sitting next to him.

The stranger — a Gold Coast detective — has just arrived at Upper Coomera, a quiet ordinary suburb that has suddenly become a major crime scene.

It was inside the child’s home the horror unfolded. His mother Renee Kuch, 39, and father Corey Croft, 37, had been stabbed to death more than 24 hours earlier by Ms Kuch’s ex-partner Christopher Carter, a former soldier.

Carter had gained custody of the pair’s two children, now aged 16 and 19, in 2015 and she began a relationship and had another child with Mr Croft.

The 39-year-old was found not guilty of murder or manslaughter this week by a Brisbane Supreme Court jury, the jury clearly believing his account that he killed the pair out of self-defence.

The young boy is comforted outside his home after both his parents were killed. Photo: Glenn Hampson

When he left their home that night, on January 20 2015, the only person still alive inside was the couple’s five-year-old son who had been asleep in his room when his parents were killed.

The boy woke to an unimaginable scene. His parents were dead. There was so much blood he is now traumatised by the colour red. He picked the knife from near his mum’s body and put it in the sink.

He then waited for help. But no one came.

PRAYERS FOR A ‘GUILTY’ VERDICT

The little boy’s grandmother Jo-Anne Kuch is angry.

She couldn’t sit through every day of the trial and wasn’t up to being there when it all came to an end late Thursday afternoon.

Her partner was in court to hear the jury foreman deliver the not guilty verdicts for the murders of her daughter and her partner.

“I couldn’t be there. I would have had a heart attack,” Ms Kuch told news.com.au from her Gold Coast home.

The things she heard during the trial devastated her. The trial process made her angry.

“I’m shattered, I’m so upset and angry. I felt like killing someone last night… It’s an injustice, an injustice in the legal system. It’s quite simple.”

Her partner Rod left the court when the verdicts were read. The two slipped out before the media frenzy that surrounded Mr Carter — who was about to walk out of court, a free man, for the first time in two years.

“It’s just horrendous, absolutely horrendous and heartbreaking.”

Ms Kuch and her family have endured a living hell in the two years since the stabbings.

“We’ve waited two years. It’s affected all of our lives, especially [the boy]. As I said to you, he’s developed ADHD, separation anxiety, he locks all the doors and windows at night.”

She is angry things were said in court about her daughter that she was unable to defend herself. The jury was told of binge drinking and affairs — accusations Ms Kuch rejects.

‘WHY DIDN’T SOMEONE COME AND HELP ME’

Ms Kuch is shattered most about the impact the killings are having on her grandson. He turned eight a week before the trial began.

“He’s OK at the moment. He wasn’t himself last weekend. We wanted to make a happy day at the park, he went swimming and on a boogie board but I could just tell he was affected.”

He lives with Ms Kuch’s sister and they are doing their best to give him a normal life, but they worry the emotional scars — not to mention what he saw and heard that night — will return to haunt him.

Ms Kuch can barely bring herself to look at the picture of him sitting in the gutter. His clothes had been replaced with the forensic suit given to him by officers who arrived within minutes of the 000 call.

More than 24 hours after the stabbings, Ms Kuch’s sister — with whom the boy now lives — went to the house after calls went unanswered.

She found the bodies and rescued the boy from the home.

Renne Kuch’s son and her mother Jo-Anne Kuch. Picture: Facebook

“He said after, ‘Why didn’t someone come and help me.’ It’s just horrendous,” she said, detailing for the first time what the boy went through.

“He couldn’t get out of the house because Corey was [dead] at the front door. He thought they were playing tricks on him,” she sobbed.

He thinks he can remember shouting that night, but has never said what he saw or heard inside the home. But Ms Kuch said he recently remembered “seeing a man”.

The family has managed to keep the trial away from him so far. But they know he will one day learn the truth.

He saw a psychologist regularly who was helping him cope with the horror he’d seen. He hates the colour red because that’s all he saw when he woke up, but had made good progress recently.

“My sister got him into sport and everything he touches turns to gold. He’s a good runner, he plays soccer — he just tries everything. It’s just a sham that Renee and Corey aren’t here to see him grow up.”

INSIDE THE HOME

This trial was no whodunnit, no mystery. Mr Carter never denied stabbing the couple. The central question the jury members had to grapple with was whether prosecutors could prove he had the intention to murder them.

Ms Kuch was stabbed at least 10 times. The fatal blow was to her neck and was so severe it severed her spinal cord. Her partner had five stab wounds, all in the neck and head.

The trial heard Carter was made aware Croft had forced a 10-year-old girl to shower with him and that he was a convicted paedophile who had raped a child in South Australia.

Ms Kuch told news.com.au she “condemns paedophiles” but insists her daughter wasn’t aware of Mr Croft’s past until she was expecting his child.

“Renee didn’t know about his past. She had the child, but you still don’t kill paedophiles, you don’t have that right. [Corey] was a great father to [the boy] and he and Renee had a good relationship. Sometimes it wasn’t, but that’s just a normal relationship.”

During his closing address on Wednesday, Crown prosector Glen Cash QC argued Carter intended to kill Croft and Renee Kuch.

Former soldier Christopher Carter leaves the Brisbane Supreme Court after being found not guilty. Picture: AAP

Christopher Carter said he was acting in self defence.

“The intent was one he developed in the course of the interactions, not that he came there to kill,” he said.

But Mr Carter’s barrister David Brustman QC argued it was not murder but an “unforeseeable” event that was the result of years of tension and hostility between Mr Carter and Renee Kuch.

Mr Carter gave evidence at trial and told the jury he went to the home just to talk to his wife.

The Crown alleged he went there, a former soldier who knew how to kill, to commit murder.

After a heated argument at the doorway, the court heard Ms Kuch appeared with a knife and the two wrestled over it. He stabbed her several times, and then said he was attacked by Mr Croft.

“I was stabbing Corey. As we moved back into what was the doorway, Corey fell to the ground.

“I didn’t know where Renee had gone through that period. I’ve just stood up and started moving to the back of the house,” Carter said.

Corey Croft was a convicted child sex offender..

Police outside the couple’s home. Picture: Annette Dew

It was then he said Ms Kuch attacked him again

“I was in a state of shock, I couldn’t believe what happened. I stabbed her. I didn’t mean to do it. I pushed her down off me. The way she fell to the ground … it was essentially like she was unconscious and I’ve seen a pool of blood was coming from her head.”

He admitted he placed the knife in her hand.

“The only thing I remember thinking in my head was: ‘It’s your knife, you can have it back.’”

A MOTHER’S LOVE

Ms Kuch couldn’t listen to the graphic evidence. Few parents could. Each time the details of her daughter’s injuries were spoken in court, she broke down in tears.

She wants her daughter remembered in a different way to what she says are mistruths from the court case.

“She was a beautiful, caring mother who loved her children. She was well liked at work, she would do anything for anyone.”

She worked in aged care, but at one stage dreamt of a career in the police force. “She didn’t pass the physical though because of her asthma.”

Not guilty…Christopher Carter.

Police found Renee Kuch and Corey Croft’s bodies inside their home. Picture: Annette Dew

Now the trial was over Ms Kuch told news.com.au she could finally go ahead with plan to scatter her ashes. She has a spot in mind, a part of the Queensland coast that is special to the family.

“That’s where my brother’s ashes were spread. A lot of Renee’s friends will be there, they’re all married now with children.”

The date she has set is not going to be Renee’s birthday, but January 20. It will be three years since she was killed.

“That’s when we are going to do it; that’s when she was taken from us.”

www.ozrural.com.au     www.clublibido.com.au

Arranged marriages are a standard practice in Pakistan and there’s no shortage of stories about the extreme steps some Pakistani women will take to escape them and marry the men they choose.

But few go as far as Aasia Bibi is alleged to have gone.

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According to Pakistani authorities, the 21-year-old woman tried to slip poison into her new husband’s milk and inadvertently killed 17 of his family members in the process.

Bibi, who is charged with murder, appeared in court on Tuesday in the north-eastern city of Muzaffargarh, where she told reporters that her parents had forced her in September to marry a relative, Associated Press and ITV reported.

Her family live in nearby Ali Pur, a small village in eastern Pakistan.

“I repeatedly asked my parents not to marry me against my will as my religion, Islam, also allows me to choose the man of my choice for marriage, but my parents rejected all of my pleas,” AP quoted Bibi as saying.

She told them that she was willing to do anything to get out of the marriage, she added, but they refused to permit a divorce, ITV reported.

Desperate to get out of the arrangement, Bibi went to her boyfriend, Shahid Lashari, who gave her a “poisonous substance”, local police chief Sohail Habib Tajak told AP.

Last week, Tajak said, Bibi mixed the poison in milk and gave it to her husband, but he refused to drink it.

At some point after – and it’s not exactly clear how – Bibi’s mother-in-law used the tainted milk to make lassi, a yogurt-based drink popular in south Asia. When she served it to 27 members of her extended family, all of them lost consciousness and were taken to hospital.

Bibi and Lashari were arrested and charged with murder shortly after. Neither had lawyers, AP reported.

Seventeen of her intended husband’s family members have reportedly died in the past several days, including one young girl, and the other 10 are still in the hospital.

Bibi denied the allegations against her, saying Lashari told her to poison the milk, but she refused.

But in Tuesday’s court hearing, Bibi told reporters that she had in fact targeted her husband and regretted that others had died, according to AP.

Her boyfriend, she said, “asked me to mix it in something” and give it to the husband. He “said he will marry me”, she told a judge, according to ITV.

Tajak said he spent two weeks questioning Bibi and Lashari trying to find out who was responsible. Lashari had confessed to giving the young woman the poison, he said.

“Our officers have made progress by arresting a woman and her lover in connection with this murder case, which was complicated and challenging for us,” Tajak told AP.

The Washington Post

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Henry Sapiecha

 

A BRISBANE man used his knowledge as a former police officer to plot the murders of his wife and two children in a frenzied stabbing attack at their family home.

The man in his 40s, who cannot be named to protect the identities of the victims, has pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court to three charges of attempted murder.

This afternoon he was sentenced to life in prison.

Justice Peter Flanagan said there were only two to three precedent cases for life sentences on attempted murder charges in Queensland.

But he said the horrific nature of the man’s attempted killing spree warranted a severe sentence.

“All three victims carry with them to this day the terrible scars of that night,” the judge said.

The man was a police officer for 17 years before resigning in 2008.

Photo: Police arrested the man at a home at Carina Brisbane Qld on February 2, 2014. (ABC TV)

He will be eligible for parole after serving 15 years.

Previously, the court heard harrowing details of his rampage through the family home on February 2, 2014.

Crown prosecutor Dejana Kovac said the man hatched the plan in response to his wife discovering he had had multiple affairs with prostitutes.

“He was in fact spending money on his sexual activities … and even (pawned his wife’s) engagement ring to fund prostitutes,” Ms Kovac said.

He plotted the murder of his family for about a week beforehand, deciding 6am was the best time to coincide with shift changes at the police station.

He selected two knives from the kitchen and crept into his wife’s bedroom first — because “he knew she would be the hardest person to kill”.

Ms Kovac said he “savagely attacked her”, targeting her thighs and neck “hoping to hit an artery”.

“ … She was defenceless from his brutal attack,” she said.

The man thought he’d done enough to kill her judging by the bloodshed.

The woman’s screams woke their young son, which Ms Kovac said upset the man “because he was hoping he would kill his son while he was asleep”.

He approached the child as he sat with a blanket around him in the living room and stabbed him twice in the neck.

The child replied: “That hurt, don’t do it again”.

By now the couple’s daughter had woken and witnessed the attack on her little brother.

She tried desperately to escape, but her father chased her through the house.

“She fought back, begged him to stop … ,” Ms Kovac said.

The child pleaded: “I thought you loved me” as she suffered up to 40 stab wounds.

The attack came to an end when the man’s wife managed to phone Triple 0.

The family miraculously somehow survived, although they have significant physical and emotional scars.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, the man’s wife described her bodily scarring as a “road map” of an attack that could never be erased.

She said she’d continued to have severe nightmares of her daughter pleading with her father not to kill her.

“My children will carry this trauma with them for the rest of their lives, lives that I hope will be long despite the attempted efforts of their father to cut them short,” the statement said.

“My children are now growing up with the stigma, shame and pain of having a parent who tried to murder them.

“The first time (my children) saw me after the crime I was still in hospital. I can never forget the shock and fear on their faces when they saw me … I had tubes and drains coming out of my neck and face, I was weak. “(My children) didn’t know if they could hug me because there wasn’t anywhere that they could see that wasn’t injured.

“My body is littered with scars, I remember counting the number of wounds I had after my stitches were removed. I was chilled by the number: 71.” A number I will never forget. That day was my 911 day.

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A drug addict who bludgeoned his mother and a young relative to death as they attempted to escape his ice-fuelled rage has been jailed for at least 30 years.

Dressed in prison greens, Lance Rhodes, 36, did not appear to react as he was handed a maximum of 40 years in jail in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.

He continued to stab her as she lay helpless on the ground. Rhodes then picked up a 28-kilogram concrete statue and repeatedly hit her on the head with it, smashing her skull.

Rhodes returned to the home, grabbed a young child relative by the neck of his shirt and stabbed him in the chest before bashing his head against a wall.

Justice Stephen Campbell said Rhodes was in the grip of an “ice-induced psychosis” when the “terrible events” of September 8, 2015 unfolded.

After consuming a cocktail of substances, Rhodes stabbed his mother Linda Adams, 63, in the back as she tried to run away from him after he grabbed a large knife from the kitchen of the Lalor Park home they shared.

The boy managed to escape, but Rhodes caught up with him outside and bludgeoned him to death with a stone.

“Die, just fucking die, I don’t care,” Rhodes was heard to say.

Covered in blood, Rhodes attempted to attack another woman, Annabelle Saludo , by getting into her car. He hit the windows, yelled “F—ing open up” and then ran after the car and tried to lift it as the woman attempted to escape.

When Senior Constable Steve Lewis arrived, Rhodes picked up a water meter cover and walked towards him, saying, “Let’s go”.

Ms Adams’ body was found only two metres from the front door of her neighbour’s home. The boy’s body was found near a tree in the yard of the home he had fled.

Justice Campbell said “doubtless this offending would never have occurred” but for Rhodes’ self-induced intoxication

.The child, who can not be named for legal reasons, who was killed.

The court heard that shortly before the killings, Rhodes had returned to his home and said, “We’re going to have some fun tonight”.

“They are in the house … they are in the house … don’t worry I’ll get rid of them,” he was later heard saying.

While Justice Campbell accepted that the attack commenced “impulsively”, he said Rhodes had persisted with it and it was “accompanied by determination”.

The court heard Rhodes had a troubled childhood and started using cannabis when he was a teenager before moving onto heroin, speed and ice.

Before the double murder, he had been consuming ice for nine months.

Rhodes told police he could not remember killing his mother and the child and repeatedly said he was unwell.

“I know I clicked it. I’m insane. I need real professional help,” Rhodes told police in an interview. “I was in a different world.

“Everything was spacey. It was like being in a dark cloud.”

A drug addict who bludgeoned his mother and a young relative to death as they attempted to escape his ice-fuelled rage has been jailed for at least 30 years.

Dressed in prison greens, Lance Rhodes, 36, did not appear to react as he was handed a maximum of 40 years in jail in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.

In a lengthy on-air monologue, TODAY host Karl Stefanovic attacked the Daily Mail for its coverage of women on the program.

Justice Stephen Campbell said Rhodes was in the grip of an “ice-induced psychosis” when the “terrible events” of September 8, 2015 unfolded.

After consuming a cocktail of substances, Rhodes stabbed his mother Linda Adams, 63, in the back as she tried to run away from him after he grabbed a large knife from the kitchen of the Lalor Park home they shared.

He continued to stab her as she lay helpless on the ground. Rhodes then picked up a 28-kilogram concrete statue and repeatedly hit her on the head with it, smashing her skull.

Rhodes returned to the home, grabbed a young child relative by the neck of his shirt and stabbed him in the chest before bashing his head against a wall.

Lance Rhodes at the crime scene, on the night he was arrested.

Lance Rhodes at the crime scene, on the night he was arrestedPhoto: TNV

Covered in blood, Rhodes attempted to attack another woman, Annabelle Saludo , by getting into her car. He hit the windows, yelled “F—ing open up” and then ran after the car and tried to lift it as the woman attempted to escape.

When Senior Constable Steve Lewis arrived, Rhodes picked up a water meter cover and walked towards him, saying, “Let’s go”.

Ms Adams’ body was found only two metres from the front door of her neighbour’s home. The boy’s body was found near a tree in the yard of the home he had fled.

Justice Campbell said “doubtless this offending would never have occurred” but for Rhodes’ self-induced intoxication.

The court heard that shortly before the killings, Rhodes had returned to his home and said, “We’re going to have some fun tonight”.

“They are in the house … they are in the house … don’t worry I’ll get rid of them,” he was later heard saying.

While Justice Campbell accepted that the attack commenced “impulsively”, he said Rhodes had persisted with it and it was “accompanied by determination”.

The court heard Rhodes had a troubled childhood and started using cannabis when he was a teenager before moving onto heroin, speed and ice.

Before the double murder, he had been consuming ice for nine months.

Rhodes told police he could not remember killing his mother and the child and repeatedly said he was unwell.

“I know I clicked it. I’m insane. I need real professional help,” Rhodes told police in an interview. “I was in a different world.

“Everything was spacey. It was like being in a dark cloud.”

But Justice Campbell was sceptical that Rhodes had no memory of the events, saying his repeated concern to present himself as a paranoid schizophrenic was an attempt to provide justification for his behaviour.

Outside court, Ms Adams’ daughter Tina Rhodes said she loved her mother and the child.

“No matter how long the sentence is, it will not bring back two beautiful people we have lost,” she said.

Rhodes will be eligible for parole in 2045.

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A live-streamed trial for former Perth man Henri van Breda, charged with murdering his family with an axe, will appear in a South African court on Monday

The van Breda family image www.crimefiles.net

Teresa van Breda, 55, her husband Martin van Breda‚ 54‚ and their eldest son Rudi‚ 22, were found dead at their home on the De Zalze Golf Estate in January 2015.

Mr van Breda was found there with minor injuries alongside sister Marli, then 16, who survived massive head injuries and a severed jugular. She now has brain injuries retrograde amnesia but is reportedly on the list of more than 100 people to testify in the case.

Mr van Breda, 21, handed himself in to Stellenbosch Police station with his attorney in June. He was charged with three counts of murder, one of attempted murder and another of obstructing justice and was released on bail.

The case has attracted global attention, with the first appearance given rolling coverage from South Africa’s News 24 and other local outlets.

Australian media was also at the Western Cape High Court on on Monday, where Judge Siraj Desai has granted an application by Media24 to live-stream the trial, which will begin about 8.15pm Perth time.

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A woman has been charged with murdering her son after his body was discovered on Friday night in a house near Wyong. NSW Australia

The son, aged 26, was found dead in a house on Orchard Way, Wadalba, about 11.30pm.

His 55-year-old mother was later arrested and charged with his murder after being taken to Wyong police station.

The circumstances of his death are unknown, and police are appealing for any information.

The woman has been refused bail and will appear in Wyong Local Court on Sunday.

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Nikol Stoeski with his partner Venesa Farcich and children image www.crimefiles.net

Nikol Stoeski with his partner Venesa Farcich and children. Photo: ABC News

A man who murdered the mother of his two young children and his best friend in a methylamphetamine-fuelled rage in Perth has had his minimum jail term increased to 27 years.

Nikol Stoeski pleaded guilty to killing Vanesa Marija Farcich, 31, and Saso Filkovski, 37, in separate Girrawheen houses in May 2013.

Stoeski was originally sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 21 years, but on Tuesday, the West Australian Court of Appeal agreed with prosecutors that it was manifestly inadequate and re-sentenced him.

In his judgment, Justice Michael Buss described the murders as “brutal, sustained and unprovoked”.
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Stoeski was under the delusional belief that his partner had been unfaithful and that his friend had spread rumours and was conspiring against him.

Ms Farcich died from asphyxiation and was left bound with duct tape in her bedroom with “666” written on her forehead.

Mr Filkovski, who had been friends with Stoeski for 27 years, was stabbed in the neck with a fishing knife and was bashed with a car part.

– AAP

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Henry Sapiecha

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Murdered ...Theresa van Breda and her husband Martin.

Murdered …Theresa van Breda and her husband Martin. Photo: Facebook

Henri van Breda, 20, told police his brother Rudi was attacked first before a burglar turned on his mother, father and 16-year-old sister Marli, South African news agency Netwerk24 has reported.

Marli, who went to the Presbyterian Ladies’ College in Perth, is currently under police guard in a South African hospital after suffering horrific head injuries in the attack. She is awake and answering simple questions, according to the South African Sunday Times.

Henri’s wounds – a bruise to the head and scratches – were self-inflicted and he waited up to four hours before calling emergency services after his family was slain, the Times reported.

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The surviving son of the former Perth family axed to death in South Africa had self-inflicted wounds and waited hours before calling authorities, it has been reported.

Martin van Breda, 54, his wife Teresa, 55, and son Rudi, 22, were killed in what is believed to have been an attack with an axe on January 29 at De Zalze Winelands Golf Estate, an exclusive golf resort in Stellenbosch, about 50 kilometres east of Cape Town.

Marli van Breda

Marli van Breda Photo: Facebook

He has enlisted South African high profile defence lawyer Pieter Botha, who famously defended British millionaire Shrien Dewani who was accused of killing his wife Anne during their honeymoon in South Africa in 2010. The charges were dismissed in 2014.

Last week, a triple-0 call Henri made after the attack appears to have him snigger when telling the operator members of his family were “bleeding from the head”.

The van Breda family were originally from South Africa before settling in Perth about eight years ago, and then moving to Brisbane before returning to South Africa.

Mr van Breda was managing director of the Australian franchise of Engel & Völkers, an international company that sells and rents “premium residential property, commercial real estate and yachts”, according to its website.

Karen Sadler, whose daughter went to Presbyterian Ladies College with Marli for about seven years, described the van Breda family as “a beautiful, gorgeous family and very close”

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cairns family murdered image 12 www.crimefiles.net

Seven of the eight children found dead in a Cairns home were siblings and the other was a family member, police believe.

The family members were of Torres Straight Island origin

The children – who have not been formally identified – were aged between 18 months and 15 years old. Several of the victims were stabbed, police have confirmed.

cairns family murdered image 10 www.crimefiles.net

A crime scene has been set up at a home in Murray Street in Manoora, a suburb about four kilometres from the CBD of the North Queensland city of Cairns.

Forensic investigators have spent the afternoon searching through the home, which is believed to be used for community housing.

Police were called to the property about 11.20am Friday, following reports of a woman with serious injuries.

cairns family murdered image 9 www.crimefiles.net

A 34-year-old woman who was the mother to seven of the victims is receiving treatment for serious injuries and is assisting police.

A second person is also in hospital, although their involvement in the incident and condition was unclear.

Cairns Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said on Friday afternoon that there were no formal suspects yet.

A 20-year-old brother of the seven dead siblings made the discovery in the house, AAP reported.

A cousin of the 34-year-old woman described the family and extended relatives as close-knit.

“We’re a big family and most of us are from the (Torres) Strait,” she said.

cairns family murdered image 6 www.crimefiles.net

“I just can’t believe it. We just found out (about) those poor babies.”

Inspector Asnicar said police would be speaking with anyone who had dealings with the family during the last two or three days.

“We don’t have any persons that are formally suspects at the moment. It is very early days,” he said.

He said police are interviewing a man who was possibly the first person on the scene.

While several of the children were stabbed, Inspector Asnicar was unable to say if that was how all the victims died.

“We’re being assisted by the coroner and local pathologist. But until the deceased are removed and the post mortems are carried out, there’s no way I could confirm that,” he said.

cairns family murdered image 11 www.crimefiles.net

Detectives will only move in to the house after forensic investigators have completed their sweep, with a crime scene likely to remain in place for several days.

A mobile police hub housing officers from the Cairns Criminal Investigation Branch, Child Protection and Investigation Unit, and Scenes of Crime and Scientific section is in place.

At least 10 police are also being sent from Brisbane to help local police.

“We have intelligence specialists, we have forensic specialists, we have homicide detectives…we have child trauma specialists…and any other staff we think that we need will be brought to the task,” Inspector Asnicar said.

cairns family murdered image 8 www.crimefiles.net

Earlier, he described the incident as “extremely distressing” but stressed that the 34-year-old woman was not in police custody while in hospital.

“As it stands at the moment, there’s no need for the public to be concerned about this other than that it’s a tragic, tragic event. The situation is well controlled at the moment,” he told reporters.

“There shouldn’t be any concerns for anyone else out of this environment and as we progress further we’ll be sharing the results of our investigation.

cairns family murdered image 4 www.crimefiles.net

“This is not a small job; we’re not taking this lightly at all. We don’t do that here in the Far North, This will be done to the nth degree and we will cover every angle before this is finished.”

Torres Strait Regional Council mayor Fred Gela told Sky News that the family do not want the victims publicly identified until every member of the family has been notified.

Cr Gela told the channel he was a personal relative of the family and they were well known right across the Torres Strait.

Sky News reported that Cr Gela asked the media to be respectful of customs surrounding the naming of deceased Torres Strait Islanders.

Flowers are being dropped off at the scene, while locals have planned a vigil at Cairns’ Munro Martin Park at 6pm.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott issued a statement on Friday afternoon, describing the incident as “an unspeakable crime”.

“All parents would feel a gut-wrenching sadness at what has happened,” he said.

“These are trying days for our country. Tonight, there will be tears and prayers for these children.”

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Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said he was “saddened and shocked” by the tragedy, and that his thoughts were with the family and friends of the victims.

“I’m also aware of the impact this will have on the emergency service workers and police officers who responded to the scene, and I have asked the acting ministers to make sure those individuals are receiving the support they need,” he said.

“Indeed, the whole Cairns community and the people of Queensland will feel the effects of this tragedy, particularly at a time of year when families come together.”

“I ask that all Queenslanders reach out to those who may need support in coming days and do not hesitate to seek professional assistance if needed.”

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Queensland Opposition Leader Annastasia Palaszczuk said the deaths were “absolutely heartbreaking news”.

The Department of Communities is sending a team to Cairns to “deal with the human and social recovery”.

“It is similar to community recovery,” a spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman could not confirm whether the family was known to the department.

– with Amy Remeikis and AAP

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