September 10, 2018 / 5:25 AM / 10 days ago

Australian man charged with five murders, including three young daughters

SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man was charged with murdering his three young daughters, their mother and their grandmother in Perth, police said on Monday, describing the incident as an “atrocity and tragedy”.

A bunch of flowers is seen outside a property where five people were found dead in a suburb of Perth, Australia, September 10, 2018. AAP/Richard Wainwright/via REUTERS

Anthony Robert Harvey, 24, was charged with the murder of his twin two-year-old girls, their sister, 3, their mother, 41, and their grandmother, 73, in the west coast city on Sept. 3 and 4, Western Australian police commissioner Chris Dawson told reporters.

Harvey stayed at a house in a remote town about 1,500 km (930 miles) away for several days before turning himself in to police nearby on Sunday, Dawson said.

Dawson did not suggest a motive for the attack but said “a blunt instrument and knives” were used. He also did not specify whether Harvey and the children’s mother were married.

Harvey was not required to enter a plea in court at this stage.

A police officer carries a bag from a property where five people were found dead in a suburb of Perth, Australia, September 10, 2018. AAP/Richard Wainwright/via REUTERS

Dawson said the children and their mother were apparently killed on Sept. 3, and the woman’s mother when she came to the house the following day.

“No matter that most of us did not know this immediate family, there’s a sense of shock and at times even anger at what has taken place,” Dawson said.

The attack was an “atrocity and tragedy”, he added.

Violent crime with multiple victims is rare in Australia but this was the third incident involving several members of a family in Western Australia this year. In May, seven members of a family people were shot and killed in the state.

Gun crime in Australia fell sharply after strict gun controls were introduced in response to a mass shooting in 1996, when a lone gunman killed 35 people in Tasmania.

Harvey was held in custody to next appear on Sept. 19.

Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Kim Coghill

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