A 19-year-old man has been charged with three counts of murder after a mother and her two children were found slain in a Perth home in the early hours of Sunday.
The man called police to a 7-Eleven convenience store in Ellenbrook, a suburb about 30 kilometres north-east of Perth, about 1.30am.
‘Potentially the most horrific crime scene’
When officers arrived, their inquiries led them to a home on Brixton Crescent where they were faced by a confronting scene.
One homicide detective has described as “potentially the most horrific crime scene” he has ever been called to.
Officers found the 48-year-old mother and her eight-year-old son dead inside the house.
Her 15-year-old daughter was located in the backyard, suffering from critical injuries. She was rushed to Royal Perth Hospital but died a short time later.
It is understood the man charged over the deaths lived at the same home as the family but his relationship with the woman and children has not yet been confirmed.
Police were seen taking a large pair of scissors from the scene on Sunday.
‘Crime will send shockwaves through community’
Assistant Commissioner Paul Steel said at a press conference on Sunday that, while details were still emerging, he believed the incident would have a profound impact on the victims’ families and the West Australian community.
“At this particular point in time there’s a very complex, and I would say horrific, crime scene in place and it will take us some time to process that crime scene, and that could be days,” he said.
“What I can tell you is a senior homicide squad investigating officer said to me today that it is potentially the most horrific crime scene that he has ever been called to.
“This is a terrible tragedy for the family involved, for their extended family and for those first responders who were forced to attend what was a horrific crime scene. My heartfelt condolences go out to all of those who have been affected by this tragedy.
It’s a crime that I know will send shockwaves throughout the community of Western Australia.
“I can assure members of the community that WA Police are applying all resources that we can to get to the bottom of what’s happened here.”
‘Everyone keeps to themselves’
A neighbour living on the quiet street said she believes a family from New Zealand with primary school-aged children lived at the home.
“I’ve seen the family when I have been walking by the house,” she said.
“I think there are at least two kids,” she said.
“I think one of them could be in school with my son. I don’t know any more [about them], everyone keeps to themselves here.”
She said her husband woke in the early hours of Sunday morning as police cars drove down the street.
Neighbour Matthew Schreck told the ABC he had been woken by a disturbance at the home about an hour before police arrived.
“I just heard a lot of screaming and yelling and a bit of fighting, and the cops flew past here and headed up this way,” he said.
“It was real loud yelling and screaming. It sounded pretty bad. It sounded like a man.”
Forensic officers and homicide detectives remain at the scene as the investigation continues.
A 25-metre stretch of Brixton Crescent remains closed to the public.
A homicide squad command post remains in the street, which is relatively new in the suburb and home to a number of young families.
Further details of the victims have not been released as officers attempt to contact their next of kin.
More details will be released as detectives continue their investigation, but Assistant Commissioner Steel said anyone with information was urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
The 19-year-old man will face Midland’s Magistrates Court on Monday.