DV issues were 'agreed' before SA deaths

·2-min read

Some domestic violence issues surrounding a man who killed himself and his young daughter at a dam wall in South Australia had been settled by agreement just hours before the murder-suicide, it has been revealed.

Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said the family had come to an agreed position as to what would and wouldn't proceed in relation to the allegations and protective orders.

She said in such circumstances "it seemed on the face of it" that the legal system had not failed the family.

But Ms Chapman said the case should not be pre-judged before police had finalised their inquiries and before other investigations had been completed including a possible inquest.

"I am not going to pre-judge the circumstances until we get to the bottom of what happened in this case. And we must do that," Ms Chapman told reporters on Friday.

Henry Shepherdson, 38, was seen by witnesses to jump from the Whispering Wall at Williamstown on Wednesday afternoon while holding nine-month-old Kobi in a child carrier.

Mr Shepherdson was found dead at the base of the wall and the girl also died at the scene.

Police are treating it as a murder-suicide and revealed soon after the deaths that there was a history of domestic violence in the family.

Ms Chapman said it was "a matter of fact" that there were charges against Mr Shepherdson before a court in the previous 24 hours.

"It seems that there has been an agreement between the parties as to what is to progress and what is to remain in respect to protective orders," she said.

"There had been an agreed settlement between the parties about how this matter progressed.

"There seems to have been a decision made by this family about what was to go forward."

However, Ms Chapman said she would not make any comment about anyone's responsibility until receiving the police report.

She also pledged to work with the mother and her extended family to try to "get some answers" about her circumstances.

"But before we start imposing what we think has happened, we must have that report. We owe that to the family," she said.

Assistant Commissioner Ian Parrott has said he expects the police investigation into the deaths to be complex.

Court documents released on Friday showed Mr Shepherdson had last year been accused of threatening to kill his daughter but the charges were dropped in March.

They also revealed a history of offending in Western Australia.

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