Neighbours have revealed chilling new details of a suspected murder suicide that claimed the lives of seven people as the victims’ family struggle to understand what happened.
Three guns were found at the West Australian property in Osmington, northeast of tourist hub Margaret River.
All of the deceased, who are yet to be formally identified, suffered gunshot wounds but police will not say if all three weapons were discharged.
Devastated neighbours described hearing gunshots at 4am on Friday and said the incident did not unfold quickly.
They said there were prolonged silences between the shots.
Police believe property owners Peter and Cynda Miles, aged 61 and 58, are among the dead at the Forever Dreaming Farm in Osmington.
The others are believed to be their 35-year-old daughter, Katrina Miles, and her four children – daughter Taye, 13, and sons Rylan, 12, Arye, 10, and Kadyn Cockman, eight.
Police found Mr Miles slumped over a chair on the porch.
WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson revealed the firearms were licensed to Mr Miles.
In a statement, the Miles’ extended family said on Saturday they were devastated.
“We are stunned and still trying to understand how this could happen,” they said.
“We respectfully ask that the community refrain from speculating on the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident.
“We thank the community for their support and ask that our privacy is respected as we grieve.”
The extended family is fully co-operating with police, while the children’s father is also getting the support he needs.
Tearful members of the close-knit community have started to leaving tributes at the Miles homestead – including flowers and handwritten messages.
“[It’s] just my way of paying respect to Taye and her family and what a horrible thing happened,” one person said.
Neighbouring farmer Richard Dossor called Mr Miles to hire him as a farmhand the night before the tragedy.
When asked how Mr Miles seemed when they spoke, Mr Dossor responded: “Just not someone who I would have thought was keen to find a new client or customer.”
Mr Miles, who formerly worked as the farm manager at Margaret River Senior High School, posted a Gumtree advertisement last week looking for “vineyard and farm work”.
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.