MANOORA STABBING OF EIGHT CHILDREN

December 19 2014

– What we know so far –

Eight children, four girls and four boys, have been found dead in Manoora aged between 18 months and 14 years old
Police have arrested and charged a 37-year-old woman with eight counts of murder – she is under police guard in hospital
Police have located weapons, namely knives within the house, and these will be examined
Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott have both released statements, Abbott calling it an ‘unspeakable crime’
​All updates are in Queensland (AEST) time
[12.37PM]

DETECTIVES have charged a woman with the murder of eight children in Manoora, Cairns, a day after she was arrested.

“The 37-year-old local woman was charged with eight counts of murder, and appeared before a magistrate in a bedside hearing at the Cairns Base Hospital this morning,” Queensland Police said in a statement.

“The woman was remanded in police custody, and currently remains in hospital.”

[6.54AM]

POLICE have identified the victims of the homicide investigation currently underway in Manoora, Cairns.

“Four girls aged 14, 12, 11 and two, and four boys aged nine, eight, six and five were found within the Murray St, Manoora home by police yesterday morning,” Queensland Police said in a statement.

“A 37-year-old woman is currently assisting police with their enquiries. The woman is the mother of the seven youngest children, and the aunt of the 14-year-old girl who was found within the house.

“The names of the children and the suspect will not be released by the Queensland Police Service at present due to cultural sensitivities within the Manoora and Torres Strait community.”

[11.29AM] Saturday

THE Community Support Centre in Manoora is open and providing support services to members of the community who are grieving after the loss of eight local children yesterday.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Paul Taylor said that the centre is providing services from a range of not-for profit organisations, including counselling.

“These are vital services that are on offer to assist the Murray Street community to cope during this devastating time,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Paul Taylor said.

“The Queensland Police Service is committed to ensuring that the community are provided with every resource required to help them comprehend and process the tragic events that unfolded in their streets yesterday,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Taylor said.

“I encourage members of the community to go to the centre, to use it as a safe place to grieve and connect with any of the free services on offer within the facility.

Counsellors and Police Liaison Officers are currently resourcing the centre, between the hours of 7am and midnight daily.

The Community Support Centre is on the corner of Murray and Marchant Streets.

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[11.15AM]

POLICE have announced via Twitter they have revised the age of the oldest child down to 14 years old.

[10:15AM]

DETECTIVE Inspector Bruno Asnicar gives an update into the Manoora deaths investigation:

[9.50AM]

A 37-YEAR-OLD woman is currently assisting police with their enquiries after eight children were discovered deceased in a house in Manoora yesterday morning.

Around 11.20am, police were called to a Murray Street address after a family member discovered the woman with injuries.

Upon arrival, police discovered eight deceased children within the residence, aged between 18-months and 14 years.

The woman is the mother of seven of the children within the house, and the aunt of one of the children.

The bodies of the children have been removed from the house overnight, and post mortem examinations will be conducted later today.

Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said that it will take some time for the scene to be processed.

“We have a number of scientific police officers on the scene today, but there is a lot of evidence to gather, and we need to make sure that we put all of the pieces of the puzzle in the correct place,” Detective Inspector Asnicar said.

“Police located weapons, namely knives within the house, and these will be examined.”

“There are also a number of services available to members of the community, as well as to police and other emergency service officers who are dealing with this incident – it is a confronting scene, and devastating for the local community,” Detective Inspector Asnicar said.

The 37-year-old woman is yet to be charged, and remains under police guard in hospital.

[7:05AM]

QUEENSLAND Police Service have announced on Twitter a 37-year-old woman has been arrested for murder and is under police guard in hospital.

[7:00AM]

THE mother of the eight children stabbed to death in Cairns is a person of interest in the mass murder, police have confirmed this morning.

Senior police have told The Courier-Mail newspaper that Mersane Warria, also known as Raina Thaiday, 34, was a person of interest in the killings that have shocked Australia.

The crime scene was cordoned off this morning with only specialist investigators allowed anywhere near the house where eight children were found stabbed to death yesterday.

“The crime scene is being locked down, that includes for me. Nobody goes in there until our forensic people are finished,” a senior police officer told Sky News.

Australian media reported some of the police who first responded to the crime were junior officers who now needed support and counselling after witnessing the unimaginable horror.

The deaths of the children – the youngest just 18 months old, the oldest 15 – have shocked a country still reeling from the deadly Sydney siege.

A candlelit vigil was held overnight in Munroe Martin Park, near the crime scene.

A minute’s silence was held at a local church service where mourners gathered last night.

Friends, relatives and members of the local community also brought flowers and cards offering messages of support.

Ms Warria had stab wounds to her chest and neck. She was undergoing a mental health assessment in Cairns hospital, News Corporation reported.

Her cousin, Lisa Thaiday, said another sibling, a 20-year-old man, arrived home to find his brothers and sisters dead in the Murray St house in the Housing Commission suburb of Manoora.

Sky News showed a distressed relative of the children, believed to be the 20 year-old man, pacing back and forth in a nearby yard.

A neighbour, Tahnia Ruttensteiner, told news.com.au she saw Ms Warria before the killings “moving stuff out of the house”, claiming she was going to “make a new start”.

– NZME.

Distraught locals embrace at the scene after eight children were found stabbed to death at a house in Manoora near Cairns, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. Eight children, aged between 18 months and 15 years, have been found dead in a house in Cairns, with a woman believed to be their mother in hospital with stab wounds. (AAP Image/Romy Bullerjahn) NO ARCHIVING
Distraught locals embrace at the scene after eight children were found stabbed to death at a house in Manoora near Cairns, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. Eight children, aged between 18 months and 15 years, have been found dead in a house in Cairns, with a woman believed to be their mother in hospital with stab wounds. (AAP Image/Romy Bullerjahn) NO ARCHIVING
ROMY BULLERJAHN
[4.40PM]

Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar has confirmed the 34-year-old woman taken to hospital with chest wounds is the mother of seven of the eight children who have been found dead in a home in Cairns.

He said no formal identification had been carried out for any of the children at this stage.

Detective Inspector Asnicar said the police don’t have any formal suspects at the moment.

“We’re speaking to a range of people and we’re speaking to anybody that’s even had associations with this family in the last two to three days,” he said.

He said police were also inquiring about another man who was possibly the first at the scene.

“We believe we’ve identified that man. We’re speaking to him presently.”

Queensland Police Superintendent Russell Miller confirmed the tragedy is believed to be an isolated incident.

He urged people to refrain from posting rumours on social media.

“There’s no indication whatsoever that there will be a wider spread in the community but there is some very unhelpful social media posts,” he said.

Police comfort a distressed woman at the scene where eight children aged between 18 months and 15 years were found dead.
Police comfort a distressed woman at the scene where eight children aged between 18 months and 15 years were found dead.
ISAAC EGAN
[4.10 PM] Friday

TRIBUTES are flowing from the Cairns community for eight children who have been killed in a mass stabbing in Cairns.

Cairns Post reporter Scott Forbes told ABC that the Torres Strait Islander family was well regarded in the community.

“The kids were quite well behaved and the interactions were amicable,” he said.

“At the top of Murray Street at 118 Murray Street is one of the major housing commission homes in Cairns.

“I’ve been speaking to the family members… they are reeling in shock.

“They are struggling to comprehend from what might otherwise be considered a nice, normal, quiet family.”

Some people have taken to laying flowers near the scene.

[3.30 PM]

A candle light vigil will be held tonight in Cairns in memory of the eight children found dead in their home in Manoora.

A Facebook event called Children of Murray Street, Manoora has been set up to organise the vigil for 6pm tonight at nearby Munroe Martin Park to “To remember the lives of the little ones lost”.

A 34-year-old woman has also been taken to the Cairns Base Hospital with chest wounds and is a serious but stable condition.

Lisa Thaiday, the injured woman’s cousin, has told media at the scene the eight children were siblings and the woman is their mother.

Cairns detective speaks about Manoora deaths.: Cairns Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar speaks about Manoora deaths. Video: QPS Twitter
[2.35 PM]

The Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has released a statement calling for support for the Cairns community and the emergency service workers and police officers after a horrific stabbing which left eight children dead.

The eight children were aged between 18 months and 15 years.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those concerned,” the statement read.

“I am also aware of the impact this will have on the emergency service workers and police officers who responded to the scene.

“I have asked the Acting Ministers to make sure those individuals are receiving the support they need.

“I ask that all Queenslanders reach out to those who may need support in coming days and do not hesitate to seek professional assistance if needed.”

The Prime Minister Tony Abbott has also released this statement:

[2.20PM]

The NZ Herald is reporting the injured woman’s cousin, Lisa Thaiday, said the children were all siblings.

The woman’s cousin is the children’s mother.

Ms Thaiday said another sibling, a 20-year-old man, arrived home to find his brothers and sisters dead inside the house. He is now being comforted by other family members.

“I’m going to see him now, he needs comforting,” Ms Thaiday said.

She described the family and extended relatives as close-knit.

“We’re a big family and most of us are from the (Torres) Strait,” she said.

“I just can’t believe it. We just found out (about) those poor babies.”

About 20 to 30 people, including neighbours and locals, could be seen to be visibly upset and comforting each other at the scene.

Cairns Post reporter Scott Forbes told the ABC that some members of the family were away from home at the time of the stabbing.

He said Manoora is a suburb with a large Indigenous population with many nearby residents related to the people involved in the incident.

Mr Forbes said he has been told their mother was a very protective and proud mother who loved her children dearly.

Eight children are dead after a stabbing in Cairns

POLICE have confirmed eight children are dead after a stabbing in the Cairns suburb of Manoora.

The eight children were aged between 18 months and 15 years.

Newscorp is reporting it was their 20-year-old brother who arrived home to find his siblings dead.

Police were called to the Murray Street residence around 11.20am following reports of a woman with serious injuries.

During an examination of the residence police located the bodies of the children.

The woman, believed to be 34 years old, is receiving treatment for her injuries and is currently assisting police with inquries. She is thought to be the mother of the children and is in a stable condition.

QAS says the woman had a wound to her chest and taken to Cairns Base Hospital

The street has been cordoned off and a crime scene will remain in place for at least the next day, Detective Inspector Asnicar told reporters at the scene.

He says there are no further threats to the community.

“As it stands at the moment there’s no need for the public to be concerned except that it’s a tragic tragic event, the situation is well controlled there shouldn’t be concern for anyone else,” he said.

“The crime scene will be continued now for probably the next day or two.

“The crime scene is being locked down, no one goes in there until our forensic people are finished.”

A Mobile Police Facility has been established and officers from the Cairns Criminal Investigation Branch, Child Protection and Investigation Unit, Scenes of Crime and Scientific section are conducting an investigation and examination of the scene.

More police teams from Brisbane are due to fly in tonight.

The road is currently closed and no further information is available at this stage.

Manoora is about 4km from the centre of Cairns.

We can confirm cairns detectives have established a crime scene & begun an investigation into the deaths of 8 children in Manoora today.
— QPS Media Unit (@QPSmedia) December 19, 2014

– Alexia Purcell & Laura Weyman-Jones

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About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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