Australian mother charged with murder of eight children

SYDNEY // An Australian mother has been charged with the murder of eight children — seven of them hers — two days after their bodies were found in a home in the city of Cairns.

Police said the 37-year-old woman was charged on Sunday in a bedside hearing at a Cairns hospital, where she is recovering from stab wounds, with the murder of four girls and four boys, aged from 18 months to 15 years. The eighth child killed was the woman’s nice.

“It is simply eight counts of murder, one for each victim,” detective inspector Bruno Asnicar said, adding that the five fathers of the children had been informed.

He said police were investigating whether drug use was involved in the tragedy.

“I want to make clear I’m not dismissing it,” inspector Ansicar said. “I’m saying that I can’t discuss whether it’s true or not.”

Police have taken more than 100 witness statements. Autopsies of the children were expected to be completed later on Sunday.

Police did not identify the charged woman, citing the need to protect the identity of the children, a normal procedure in Australian criminal cases.

Police also noted that it was culturally insensitive and a breach of cultural protocols of the indigenous Torres Strait Islander community, to which the family belongs, to release the names and photos of the dead children.

Inspector Asnicar said police would be releasing less information about the case from now on as the charging of the mother meant it was now before the courts.

“It’s going to be a long hard road” to the bring the case to a conclusion, he said.

* Reuters

Published: December 21, 2014 04:00 AM

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