‘I’ve lost a beautiful daughter’

Written By komlim puldel on Sabtu, 20 Desember 2014 | 20.02

Police have surrounded a house in the Cairns suburb of Manoora where as many as eight children have been stabbed to death.

A handwritten note in a memorial of flowers, toys and candles in a park next to the home. Source: Getty Images

THE father of a girl killed in the horrific Cairns massacre said she should have been celebrating her 14th birthday with the family today.

Instead, he and his wife are trying to come to terms with her brutal murder and find answers for why the violent crime was committed.

The couple broke down in tears when they learned that their teenage daughter had been murdered along with seven other children at her aunt's house.

The other children were all siblings — three girls aged 12, 11 and two and four boys aged nine, eight, six and five, police said today.

Cairns Police Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said five fathers were distraught by the news of the deaths of their children, according to The Cairns Post.

Police are yet to release a cause of death as the autopsies are still being conducted. Those results are expected in the next few days.

Gone but not forgotten: Malili and Daniel (standing) sitting, L to R: Rayden, Petronella, Rodney. Child second from right is Cassius, a cousin and not among the deceased. The child on the far right is Azariah, who was also killed. Source: Supplied

Distraught locals weep near the scene of the mass murder. Source: Getty Images

Angel Jacob, 11, and children paint messages under the trees in Murray Street Park, Cairns. Source: News Corp Australia

Families comforted each other near the house of horror. Source: News Corp Australia

Australia is grieving another horrible tragedy, just days before Christmas. Source: Getty Images

"I've lost a beautiful daughter," said the father. "What for? What has she done?

"What happened?"

The man said everyone had seemed happy when he had dropped his daughter at the house a week ago.

Mersane Warria, the 37-year-old mother of the other children, who were aged between 18 months and 14 years old, has been arrested and is under police guard in hospital where she is being treated for stab wounds.

Det Insp Asnicar said charges had not been laid, but investigations were continuing.

"Every minute we have a better understanding of what went on in that house," he said.

"She will be under police guard until this investigation is completed."

A woman cries after laying flowers at the scene where eight children were found dead. Source: AFP

The children's bodies were found at the home in Manoora by her 20-year-old son on Friday.

"(The son) told us that everyone is dead," said the girl's father. "I said, 'how come you are telling me this?'

"And I was crying and (my wife) was crying, everybody was crying."

He last saw his daughter the night before she died at a local McDonald's where she was eating dinner with friends.

Neighbours Lucy and Lency Piva could not comprehend what had happened on their doorstep. Source: News Corp Australia

The crime scene at Murray Street, Manoora. Picture: Stewart McLean Source: News Corp Australia

Members of the public are trying to process the terrible news. Source: Getty Images

"I said 'come with me', but she said: 'Oh no dad, I'm going with my friends, my aunty,'" he said.

He was shocked by the news that the girl's aunt could be responsible for the crime, saying that Warria had recently decided to turn her life around and was again attending church.

His daughter loved her friends, school and reading, the man added.

"When I dropped her at the house a week ago, everyone was happy," he said.

"The last time I saw her she kissed me. She said she loved me and she asked for $100 which I said I'd give to her on Saturday morning on her birthday.

"My daughter, she was beautiful."

Neighbours said they heard the pleading screams of a woman at 9pm on Thursday.

"Don't let them take them away from us," she cried. "God bless us. Forgive me for what I'll do."

Aaron Oui and Jade Atkinson sit at a vigil of flowers and candles set up opposite the crime scene. Picture: Brendan Radke Source: News Corp Australia

"Devastating, we support you". Flowers line the footpath. Source: News Corp Australia

Neighbours comfort each other upon hearing the news. Picture: Brendan Radke Source: News Corp Australia

The first police to arrive on the scene were reportedly so distressed that they could be heard screaming for an ambulance from the street. Picture: Marc McCormack Source: News Corp Australia

At 11.20am the next day, Werria's son walked in to find the bodies of his cousin and his seven brothers and sisters.

Police were called to the Murray Street home to be confronted by a scene so horrifying that their "screams and shouts" for an ambulance could be heard from the street.

Floral tributes placed across the road from the house continue to grow today with candles, teddy bears and even Christmas toys placed against the fence line.

Community members have gathered in the park beside the house, which has been surrounded with tarps and police equipment, according to The Cairns Post.

Flowers, teddies, and candles left outside the Cairns home. Picture: Stewart McLean Source: News Corp Australia

Last night, Warria was undergoing a mental health assessment in Cairns hospital, where she was transported after sustaining serious injuries. She suffered stab wounds to the chest and neck.

"She was having a bad night; I heard her fighting with someone this morning about 4am," a neighbour, Tahnia Ruttensteiner, said.

Ms Ruttensteiner said she saw Warria "moving stuff out of the house", claiming she was going to "make a new start".

"I last saw her about 6am, then it was quiet.

"She was putting furniture and stuff out the front on the street, giving stuff away to family and friends.

"She said she was changing her life. She wasn't well but she loved those kids."

The home where eight children were killed. Picture: Brian Cassey Source: News Corp Australia

The backyard of the home where the children were stabbed to death. Picture: Brian Cassey Source: News Corp Australia

A mattress and clothing are strewn across the backyard of the house. Picture: Brian Cassey Source: News Corp Australia

Warria was seen by a neighbour moving things out of the house. Picture: Stewart McLean. Source: News Corp Australia

Authorities revealed the officers who arrived on the scene on Friday were "very young and junior officers" who were now receiving counselling.

Neighbours had described Warria as "proud" and "very protective" of her brood, adding "she loved her children dearly".


Police stated they were not looking for anybody else in relation to the deaths.

It is not clear whether the second person taken to hospital is a stepfather of the children.

Police help a distressed family friend outside the house. Picture: Sharnie Kim, ABC Source: ABC

Friends and relatives of the family sob outside the house. Source: Supplied

Friends, relatives and local families having been grieving for the children. Source: Getty Images

"It's very early days but (the woman) is in a stable condition," Det Insp Asnicar said on Friday.

"The situation is well controlled at the moment, there's no concern for anyone else in the environment.

"The crime scene will continue now for probably the next day or two and as we get further information we will share that."

Late Friday afternoon, at a second media briefing, Det Insp Asnicar said the police wanted to speak to anyone who had contact with the family over the last two or three days.

A woman believed to be Warria is taken from the scene in a stretcher with stab wounds to the chest and neck. Picture: Sky News Source: Supplied

An unidentified man shields his face from cameras outside the house where the children were killed. Source: News Corp Australia

Flowers and toys lie against a fence across the road from the scene of the child massacre. Source: Getty Images

Members of the public arrive to lay flowers across the road from the home. Source: Getty Images

That included the 20-year-old brother who arrived at the house this morning and a man seen pacing around the property after police were called.

He refused to say exactly what the first officers who arrived at the house saw other than it was traumatic for everyone.

It was one of the worst incidents he'd encountered because of the "number of deceased all in one place".

The community has been urged to "lean on each other and look after your mates" and police have promised to provide locals with additional resources and support.

The cousin of the dead children's mother, Lisa Thaiday, talks to media. Source: Supplied

A man weeps behind a fence near the Murray St home where eight siblings have been found dead. Picture: Sky News Source: Supplied

Lisa Thaiday, who said she was the woman's cousin, said it was the 20-year-old brother who came home and found his brothers and sisters dead inside the house.

Last night ABC reporter Sharnie Kim said relatives of the slaughtered children had continued to make their way to the house. They would speak to the police and then break down, she said.

"There are very confronting scenes here of people crying," Ms Kim said.

"Everyone, the neighbours, the relatives and a large media contingent are just watching and waiting for something to happen."

Police confirmed they were called to the scene at 11.20am on Friday but would not say whether it was a family member or a neighbour who alerted them.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott called it "an unspeakable crime" and "heartbreaking".

"All parents would feel a gut-wrenching sadness at what's happened."

Cairns Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar speaks to media about the stabbing deaths of 8 children in Cairns. Courtesy: Queensland Police

"These are trying days for our country," said Mr Abbott, with the tragedy coming just days after the Martin Place siege, which traumatised Australians this week.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said he was deeply saddened and shocked by the mass stabbing.

"I ask that all Queenslanders reach out to those who may need support in coming days and do not hesitate to ask for professional assistance if needed," he said.

In particular he asked for support for the police and ambulance officers who were first to arrive at the house.

Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning said the community was in shock.

"I offer my personal condolences to the family and friends of the victims."

He called for people to unite and display sympathy for those directly affected by the incident.

A candlelit vigil for the dead children was held overnight.

Cairns is reeling from the shock, in the same week as the Sydney shootings. Source: Getty Images

The community is in mourning. Source: Getty Images

People are still waiting to find out the truth of what happened. Source: Getty Images

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, told news.com.au he thought the incident was a tragedy.

"I didn't know them (the family) but my heart goes out to them," he said.

Murray Street is a diverse multicultural area with a mix of both private and public housing in a western suburb of Cairns.

It has had a stigma in previous years as a place to avoid for people looking to move to the area.

But more recently these suburbs, particularly the northern parts of Manoora, have become more popular with people looking to enter the Cairns property market.

Queensland's Department of Housing and Public Works confirmed the home in which the children were found dead was under its management.

Police at outside the Murray Street house. Source: News Corp Australia

Relatives and friends have been weeping outside the property. Source: News Corp Australia

Police say it may take several days for forensic specialists to collect evidence from the house. Source: News Corp Australia

Dozens of police rushed to the scene after the shocking mass murder. Picture: Grace Uhr Source: News Corp Australia

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