Father of slain children speaks out after Australia’s worst mass shooting in decades

The four children, their mother and grandmother were apparently killed by their grandfather, who then turned a gun on himself

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 May, 2018, 4:43pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 May, 2018, 11:11pm

The father of four murdered children spoke out on Sunday as details emerged of the mass shooting that killed three generations of the same family on a farm in the Margaret River wine-growing region in the country’s rural south west.

The bodies of four young children along with three adults were found by police just after 6am on Friday at the farm in Osmington, a tiny town of 135 people on the southwest tip of the state of Western Australia.

The incident is being treated as murder-suicide and Western Australia Police Commissioner Chris Dawson told a press conference on Saturday that they are not looking for any suspects.

Police have named the dead as property owner and grandfather Peter Miles, 61, his wife Cynda, 58, their daughter Katrina Miles, 35, and her four children Taye, 13, Rylan, 12, Ayre, 10, and Kadyn Cockman, 8.

The father of the children, Aaron Cockman, a local carpenter and builder, had been involved an acrimonious split with Katrina, which led her and the children to move in with her parents.

Cockman told a press conference on Sunday that he had been full of anger after Peter and Cynda Miles cut him off from seeing his children.

“The anger towards them now is completely gone. Completely gone. I don’t feel angry. I feel tremendous sadness for my kids,” he said. “I’m tremendously sad but I’ll get through this.”

Cockman said police had told him the children died peacefully, with Kaydin in his mother’s bed.

“All the kids died peacefully in their beds,” he said.

Police seized three guns from the scene on Friday, all “longarm” weapons licensed to Peter Miles.

Longarm weapons are shot from the shoulder, such as rifles or shotguns and are common on farms.

Police are still investigating the circumstances leading up to the worst mass shooting in Australia since the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996 when a gunman killed 35 people in Tasmania.

The coroner will investigate.