Three guns found at murder-suicide scene belonged to grandfather suspected of shooting dead his wife, their daughter and her four autistic children – as more grisly details of the tragedy emerge
- Grandfather Peter Miles, 61, is suspected of murdering his wife, their daughter and her four autistic children
- They were all found dead at the family farm in Osmington, 15km from Western Australia’s Margaret River
- A male called police at 5.15am (local time) before turning the gun on himself
- All three guns found at the scene of suspected the murder-suicide belonged to Peter
- Children’s father Aaron Cockman, is not being investigated by police despite marriage breakup with his wife
Three firearms located at the scene of a suspected murder-suicide at a remote farm near Margaret River on Friday morning belonged to grandfather Peter Miles, 61.
Sources confirmed to The Australian that Peter is suspected of shooting dead his wife Cynda Miles, 58, their daughter Katrina Miles, 38, and her four autistic children — Taye, 13, Rylan, 12, Arye, 10, and Kadyn Cockman, 8, before turning the gun on himself.
In a press conference on Saturday, Western Australian Commissioner Chris Dawson said two officers attended the scene shortly after receiving a 000 call from a male at the Osmington property, where all seven family members lived, at 5.15am. The call lasted two minutes.
Detectives are working to establish if Peter killed his family and then called police before turning the gun on himself.
Peter Miles (second from left in suit and blue tie) is reportedly suspected of shooting dead his wife, Cynda, (back right), his daughter Katrina Miles (left in red dress) and her four autistic children aged from 8 to 13 before turning the gun on himself on Friday morning at their family farm 15km from Margaret River in Western Australia
Three generations were found shot dead at the rural farm in Osmington, including Katrina Miles and her four children (pictured together) aged between 8 and 13
Cynda Miles (left and right) was an active member of local community group Transition Margaret River which seeks a happier and more sustainable future
The grisly murder-suicide at a remote farm house (pictured) in Western Australia shocked the nation as Australia’s worst mass murders in two decades where police are establishing whether Peter killed three generations of his family before himself
Upon arrival, two officers found one person dead outside the home, one female deceased inside the house and five dead inside a ‘converted shed structure’. All had suffered gunshot wounds.
Commissioner Dawson would not confirm rumours that the murder-suicide was sparked by financial hardship.
He said the children’s father Aaron Cockman – a local builder who is estranged from Katrina – has been informed of the tragedy and was ‘devastated’.
Despite sharing on Facebook last month that her ex ‘does not stop stalking (her)’, police have confirmed that Mr Cockman is not a suspect.
Police were met with horrific scenes when they arrived at the farm. Pictured: A shed on the farm
The grisly murder-suicide at the property in Osmington, 15km from Margaret River, shocked the nation, and is Australia’s worst mass shooting since the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.
Katrina is thought to have home schooled her four children at the farm after they moved there when her marriage broke up.
Peter and Cynda bought the farm in 2014 and planned to live a sustainable life with their daughter and grandchildren.
The children’s grandparents (Cynda pictured) bought the farm in 2014 and planned to live a sustainable life with their family after their daughter’s marriage breakup
Katrina is thought to have home schooled her four autistic children, Taye, Ryan, Ayre and Kadyn Cockman who were aged between 8 and 13, at the farm known as Forever Dreaming (pictured)
Katrina (pictured) is believed to be estranged from her children’s father, Aaron Cockman, but despite sharing on Facebook last month that her ex ‘does not stop stalking (her)’, police said Mr Cockman, who is still alive, was not a suspect
Commissioner Dawson on Friday described the incident as a ‘significant tragedy’.
He said the ‘male person’ had phoned police about an hour after nearby residents woke to the sound of gun shots.
‘Based on what we do know, this is clearly a tragedy… police located seven persons deceased. Four children and three adults,’ he said.
A neighbour told the ABC he had spoken to a man who lived at the property just hours before the bodies were found.
‘I was talking to him on the phone last night, I was going to ask him to come over tomorrow. He seemed very vague,’ he said.
Commissioner Dawson said a ‘male person’ connected to the property (pictured) had phoned police at 5.15am about an hour after nearby residents woke to the sound of gun shots
This image shows the kitchen of the remote farm where a mass-murder suicide was discovered early Friday morning
Two adults were found dead outside a building on the rural property, before the bodies of four children and another adult were discovered inside. Pictured: A bedroom in the house
This image shows a dirt road on the farm where police discovered seven dead bodies including four children on Friday morning
Another neighbour, Felicity Haynes, told Daily Mail Australia that Cynda and Peter had moved to the countryside to build the sustainable farm as a home for Katrina, her daughter and three sons.
‘Cynda and Pete… moved out from town three years ago … they had started to build a river farm and had done fabulous work growing their own vegetables and building dams,’ she said.
‘That’s what makes it so tragic. They were building a self-sustainable farm to raise the family there.’
Inspector Chris Dawson addressed the media on the tragedy on Saturday morning
In a press conference on Saturday morning, WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said all three long-arm firearms found at the Osmington property, where all seven family members lived, were registered to Peter
Police Commissioner of Western Australia Chris Dawson holds a press conference as Augusta-Margaret River Shire President Pam Townshend looks on outside Margaret River Police Station
A friend of Katrina told The Australian she ‘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.’
Her mother Cynda was an active member of local community group Transition Margaret River which seeks a happier and more sustainable future.
The well-loved local also owns a craft company, Soft Salvage, where she turned recycled materials into decorative pieces, news.com.au reported.
Nearby residents said they heard gunfire around 4am but dismissed the sound as coming from kangaroo shooters (farm pictured)
Police forensics investigate the death of seven people in a suspected murder-suicide in Osmington
On the farm’s website, Cynda Miles wrote of watching her grandchildren play with the animals.
‘Forever Dreaming is our forever farm. It is here that we will grow as much of our food as we can, sit on the veranda and watch the birds, and watch the grandchildren immerse themselves in the animals and everything else that happens on a daily basis,’ she wrote.
Police were met with horrific scenes when they arrived at the 30 acre farm with two houses on Friday morning.
Nearby residents said they heard gunfire around 4am but dismissed the sound as coming from kangaroo shooters.
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Two firearms were located at the scene and Commissioner Dawson confirmed that at least some of the victims suffered gunshot wounds
A neighbour told the ABC he had spoken to a man who lived at the property just hours before the bodies were found
Forensic officers comb the scene where four children and three adults were found shot dead on Friday at 5am local time
Another neighbour who lives across the road from the property told Fairfax he hadn’t heard anything unusual overnight.
‘There was nothing much I could tell [police],’ said the semi-retired farmer, adding he didn’t know the residents very well.
‘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.’
Julia Meldrum, deputy president of the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River, told Daily Mail Australia the district was in deep shock.
‘It’s devastating,’ the distressed mother-of-two said.
‘It’s just shock and devastating for the community.
The grisly murder-suicide at a remote farm house (pictured) in Western Australia shocked the nation
Four children are among seven people found dead at a rural property in Osmington, near Margaret River
Police suspect a grandfather of shooting dead his wife, their daughter and her four autistic children before turning the gun on himself at a remote farm near Margaret River
The grisly murder-suicide at the property in Osmington, 15km from Margaret River, early Friday morning shocked the nation, and is Australia’s worst mass shooting since the Port Arthur massacre in 1996
‘I actually feel like vomiting. The shire has a population of 14,000 people but each town is very close knit.
Jan Walsh told Australian Associated Press they lived in a very ‘caring town’.
‘There’s retired people who live down here, there’s ex-farmers,’ she said.
‘It’s just a wonderful place to live and everyone’s so friendly.
‘You wave to everyone coming down Osmington Road and you don’t even know them.’
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE MASS SHOOTING
– Investigations are turning to Peter Miles, the husband of Cynda Miles, father of Katrina Miles and grandfather of her four children all found shot dead
– Police found seven bodies at the family farm in Osmington, 15 km from Margaret River in WA, after being called there just after 5am on Friday
– Four of the victims were children, three were adults including Peter Miles
– The victims suffered gunshot wounds
– Two firearms were found at the scene
– Katrina’s estranged husband, Aaron Cockman, is not a person of interest
– Locals say the family that lived at the farm were respected and contributors to the community
– Osmington is in the Margaret River region, which is renowned for its surf breaks and vineyards
– Osmington had a population of just 135 people in the 2016 Census
– The region consists of a handful of roads, farms, vineyards, horse studs, holiday chalets, luxury accommodation, a small church, a five-star dog retreat and gourmet dining
‘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.’
Shire president Pamela Townshend said the town would struggle to come to grips with the horror.
‘It’s an isolated rural area. There’s no centre of town. Everyone comes into town to do their shopping,’ she said.
‘There’s a lot of giving each other vegetables, cooking each other meals, looking after each other when they’re ill – very connected in deep ways.’
Flowers are left next to a police roadblock where police are investigating the death of seven people in suspected murder-suicide
Flowers and a note marked ‘Katrina and family’ lay at the site where seven bodies were found
Julia Meldrum, deputy president of the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River, told Daily Mail Australia the district was in deep shock because of how peaceful the area is
‘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.
‘There are community members already rallying to work out a support response for the family. We’re already seeing this rallying.
Councillor Townshend believed the deaths should lead to further debate about gun and family violence.
‘Once again we are faced with this problem in families with gun violence and male violence, assuming it is male violence,’ she said.
‘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.
Commissioner Dawson, who said there was no danger to the public, did not specify the ages of any of the victims
Osmington, about 260km south of Perth, is a 10-minute drive east of the Margaret River township.
The tiny community, which ABS data shows has about 135 residents, mostly consists of farmland properties and vineyards.
Australia had not experienced a mass shooting massacre, defined as the death of five or more people, since 35 people were gunned down at Port Arthur in April, 1996.
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
From Port Arthur 1996 to Melbourne 1987: Australia’s worst gun massacres
The shooting deaths of seven people at a rural property south of Perth are Australia’s worse mass shooting since the 1996 Port Arthur massacre which sparked new gun laws.
Australia had not experienced a mass shooting massacre, defined as the death of five or more people, since 35 people were gunned down at the historic Tasmanian tourist attraction on April 28, 1996.
The shooting deaths of seven people at a rural property south of Perth are Australia’s worse mass shooting since the 1996 Port Arthur massacre (pictured)
Before the Port Arthur massacre, seven people in August 1987 were gunned down at Hoddle Street in central Melbourne.
In August 1991, seven people were killed at Strathfield Plaza in Sydney’s inner-west when a gunman shot dead six people in the mall after he had stabbed a teenage girl.
The gunman Wade Frankum killed himself as police arrived at the scene.
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