Margaret River shooting: Seven dead including four children in Australia's worst gun attack in decades

Three generations of same family dead - with police not looking for any suspects

Friday 11 May 2018 22:48 BST
Margaret River shooting: local police give details on seven dead including four children in Australia's worst gun attack in decades

Seven people, including four children, have been found dead at a rural property in what is reported to be Australia's deadliest mass shooting in 22 years.

The bodies were discovered in the rural village of Osmington in Western Australia.

The victims were three generations of the same family, Australia's ABC News reported. They have been named locally as Katrina Miles, her four children aged eight to 13, and their grandparents.

Officers have not yet confirmed widespread reports of murder-suicide - but they have said two guns were also found at the isolated farm. They are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

"It appears that gunshot wounds are there, but I don't want to go further than that," said Chris Dawson, WA Police Commissioner. "The loss of any life is tragic, but four children and three adults - this is a significant tragedy."

If confirmed, it will be the country's worst shooting incident since a massacre in Port Arthur, Tasmania, claimed the lives of 35 people in 1996.

Osmington is a tiny rural village 20km from Margaret River, a popular tourist area

Ms Miles and her children are reported to have moved there to the property, owned by her parents Cynda and Peter Miles, about three years ago.

She had home-schooled the three boys and one girl at their farm, and was described by friends as a devoted mother.

“I always admired her for her strength. The kids were kind, gentle, smart and beautiful children,” a friend told The Australian.

Police were attempting to make contact with the victims’ relatives, and have not offically released the names or ages of the dead.

Australia’s gun laws - introduced after the 1996 shooting - are widely acclaimed with supporters including former US president Barack Obama.

Farmers are allowed to own firearms because they have a legitimate need to use them to kill feral pests and predators or sick or injured livestock. But automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns are banned.

Osmington is a collection of a few streets, farms, horse studs, vacation accommodation and vineyards supplying the premium winemaking district known as Margaret River.

Samantha Lee, chair of the Gun Control Australia lobby group, said rural areas were over-represented in Australian gun deaths, including suicides.

“Regional and rural areas are particularly vulnerable to these sorts of tragedies, because of the combination of isolation, sometimes mental or financial hardship and easy access to firearms,” Ms Less said in a statement.

“Although the details of this tragedy are yet to come to light, Australia has a tragic history of higher rate of gun deaths in rural areas,” she added.

Agencies contributed to this report

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