Naomi Fryers reports on the shocking, devastating, soul destroying, and deeply disturbing news from Cairns, Australia.
Off the back of a horrific week for Australians, following the deadly siege on Monday in Sydney’s ‘Martin Place’ tragedy has struck again. In Australia’s far north Queensland, the region of Cairns is in mourning, rocked by tragedy following one of the worst mass murders in Australia’s history. A 37-year-old mother is currently under arrest and police guard in Cairns Base hospital following the murders of seven of her children and the woman’s niece. Police describe her state as “awake” and “lucid,” and she is assisting them with their enquiries. The mother has serious injuries including stab wounds to her neck and torso but is in a stable condition. A number of weapons including knives have been found in the property.
Aged between 18 months and 14 years, the children were found by their brother shortly prior to midday yesterday in their Murray Street, Manoora home. Last night a vigil was held in a park where the community gathered together in their time of grief. Acting Chief Superintendent Russell Miller said warned social media users against posting unhelpful content that would likely generate unrest. He also stated that, “authorities were working on a community recovery plan and the Queensland Police Service was wary of the impact the incident may have on first response officers.”
Neighbours reported hearing some screaming in a mixture of English and Torres Strait Creole, a native language of Islanders, coming from the residence in the hours leading up to the massacre. Police has declined to officially release the name of the woman arrested, and some media outlets, including The Good Men Project, have also refrained out of respect for cultural protocol and family, as it would identify the dead.
Postmortems will be carried out by the coroners today. Police have quashed rumours that the house was a “problem house.” The deceased children have now been removed from the house following a forensic investigation. Police said the suburban Cairns home will be locked down for several days.
Police are comfortable the wider community is safe describing the crime as an “isolated incident” and dismissing the speculation the Manoora house has been the subject of Department of Social Services investigation. An investigator stated, “This is an ordinary neighbourhood, a lot of good people, a lot of kids in the area. This is something that has caught everybody by surprise.” At this stage police are not looking for another suspect.
Australia’s Prime Minister called the tragedy “unspeakable” and said, “These are trying days for our country. Tonight, there will be tears and prayers across our country for these children. My thoughts are with the Queensland Police and all who have to respond to this terrible situation.” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten made a statement via social media in which he said, “There is no greater evil than the killing of children.” The outpouring of community grief in response to this shocking event has been immense. Mourners have included neighbours, relatives, and strangers and the close knit multicultural community have laid bears, candles, and flowers for the murdered children.
Any Australians in distress are advised to contact the following organisations:
Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636
Lifeline (24 hours) on 13 11 14