The father of four children who died in a suspected murder-suicide near Margaret River has revealed he is struggling to get through the days, three months on from the tragedy.
As he prepares to meet with ministers in Canberra about changing Australia’s family legal system, Aaron Cockman revealed he had been in constant pain since his daughter and three sons were killed.
His estranged father-in-law Peter Miles, 61, shot dead 58-year-old wife Cynda, 35-year-old daughter Katrina and her four children – daughter Taye, 13, and sons Rylan, 12, Arye, 10, and Kadyn, 8 – at their farm in Osmington, near Margaret River, on May 11.
“To be honest, I’m really battling, really battling. I make it halfway through the day and I think I only have half more to go – and then the next day comes,” Mr Cockman told Sunrise on Wednesday morning.
“I really miss the kids. I even miss Katrina.
“The sadness that I am going through, it should never have happened … as soon as the lawyers got involved, everything went downhill really really fast.”
Campaign to change the trauma of family court battles
Mr Cockman will now meet with Health Minister Greg Hunt on Wednesday to warn of the potentially devastating consequences of court involvement in family separation.
“Things just began to spiral out of control,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
“There was no turning back. I backed away because I could see the enormous strain she [Kat] and the family were under.”
Non-profit organisation For Kids Sake says it will have lobbied more than one-third of all federal MPs and senators on the issue by the end of the week.
They argue the way courts and lawyers are involved in family separation puts the 60,000 children caught up in the protracted proceedings at risk every year.
“The trauma of a prolonged, adversarial separation leaves children scarred for life,” the group’s ambassador Karen Clarke said on Tuesday.
“This leads to greater risks of many illnesses, from heart disease to cancer, as well as higher risks of teenage self-harm and even suicide.”
Alongside Mr Cockman, the group will meet with Mr Hunt, Junior Minister for Children David Gillespie and the Attorney General’s office among others.
“We need to find a better, safer way of dealing with family separation than the family court,” Mr Cockman said.