Dead in Australia's Worst Mass Shooting Since 1996

Irene MckinneyMay 13, 2018

Philip Alpers, a Sydney University gun policy analyst, said it appeared to be the worst mass shooting in Australia since a lone gunman killed 35 in Tasmania state in 1996, prompting the nation to introduce tough gun controls.

As police sought answers to the apparent murder-suicide, locals in the Margaret River community say fingers pointing at the grandfather of the family "do not make sense", with some alleging media reports and investigators have "got it wrong".

Police spokesman Chris Dawson assumes that all of the victims lived in the house in which they were found. "A female adult was found deceased inside the main house and five people were found deceased in what I would describe as a converted shed structure". Two other bodies were found outside.

"This devastating tragedy will no doubt have a lasting impact on the families concerned, the whole community and, in particular, the local communities in our South West", he told reporters.

Commissioner Dawson wanted to "strongly emphasise that police do not believe any other person is involved in this crime".

"The loss of any life is tragic, four children and three adults, this is a significant tragedy", he said.

"Her wealth of knowledge and willingness to share her passion for home education was something that we are all incredibly grateful for", she said.

Katrina's four children - Taye, Ryan, Ayre and Kadyn Cockman - were aged between eight and 13.

He said police knew whose phone the call was made from but would not confirm whether it was Mr Miles. It was an unidentified man who called police and it was police that went out to the property and found the bodies.

"If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have Katrina, I wouldn't have her kids", he said.

Early yesterday morning, news spread like wildfire through the town of 9,000 that a serious crime had occurred.

Mr Cockman, who was estranged from Katrina, said he had not spoken to Peter and Cynda "since they cut me off from my kids" but being angry served no goal.

"There was just a lot of love in that family".

VideoThe worst mass shooting in Australia since Port Arthur.

Public records said Cynda Miles worked for a community group and the children were all home-schooled.

Homicide detectives are now assisting police, he said, adding that there was no danger to the public.

That incident was so shocking it ushered in tight gun control laws that have been held up as a global standard for preventing gun violence.

Counselling services are available from 1pm Saturday, Sunday and Monday at the Margaret River Community Resource Centre.

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