Seven members of one family dead in 'murder-suicide'

A small country town in WA is at the centre of one of Australia’s worst mass murder-suicides.

Seven members of a family, including four children and their mother, were shot dead on their rural property in Osmington, near Margaret River.

The bodies were found just before dawn on Friday morning, with WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson describing the scene as a devastating tragedy.

Five of the victims are believed to be mother Katrina Miles and her four children. Source: 7 News
Five of the victims are believed to be mother Katrina Miles and her four children. Source: 7 News
The bodies were found just before dawn on Friday morning at a property in Osmington, WA. Source: 7 News
The bodies were found just before dawn on Friday morning at a property in Osmington, WA. Source: 7 News

Police were called to the property by a man, believed to be linked to the property, about 5.15am, to find seven people dead.

Five of the seven victims are believed to be Katrina Miles and her four children, aged between 8 and 13.

The other two victims are understood to be Katrina’s parents Peter and Cynda Miles, who lived at the property.

Peter and Cynda Miles. Source: 7 News
Peter and Cynda Miles. Source: 7 News

The local community is in shock, with neighbour Felicity Haines describing them as “beautiful community-minded people.”

Police have stressed community safety is not at risk after the incident.

The tragedy happened in the remote rural community of Osmington, 270 km south of Perth and 15 minutes away from popular tourist spot Margaret River.

The 12-hectare property had been run as a hobby farm, with two separate homes, sheds and a dam.

The 12-hectare property had been run as a hobby farm, with two separate homes, sheds and a dam. Source: 7 News
The 12-hectare property had been run as a hobby farm, with two separate homes, sheds and a dam. Source: 7 News

The area’s local MP said the family was a “much-loved” part of the community and residents were reeling from the news.

The first two police officers on the scene are being offered counselling to help them deal with what they saw when they arrived at the scene.

The children were found indoors with one of the adults, with the other two adults outside nearby.

Police Commissioner Chris Dawson addresses the media, describing the scene as horrific. Source: AAP
Police Commissioner Chris Dawson addresses the media, describing the scene as horrific. Source: AAP

All are believed to have died from gunshot wounds, but police have only officially said that several of the bodies found had been shot.

Police found three firearms at the scene.

Murder-suicide is suspected.

“I expect that police and other specialists will be at the property for several days at least,” Commissioner Dawson said.

The first two police officers on the scene are being offered counselling to help them deal with what they saw when they arrived at the scene. Source: 7 News
The first two police officers on the scene are being offered counselling to help them deal with what they saw when they arrived at the scene. Source: 7 News

The shooting is one of the worst in Western Australian history.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

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