Cairns child killings

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Cairns child killings
Location Manoora, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Date 18–19[1] December 2014
Weapons Knife or knives
Deaths 8
Non-fatal injuries
1 (the suspect)
Suspected perpetrator
Raina Mersane Ina Thaiday

On 19 December 2014, at 11:20 a.m., police were called to 34 Murray Street in the Cairns suburb of Manoora in Australia, where eight children were found dead.[2] The victims were aged between 18 months and 14 years.[2] The bodies, with stab wounds, were discovered by the children's 20-year-old brother.[3] Neighbours reported that fighting could be heard from the house the night before and in the early hours of the morning.[4]

Victims[edit]

Eight children were killed: four boys and four girls, ranging in age from two to 14 years old.[5] Seven of the eight were siblings or half-siblings, and the eighth was their cousin. Their family had ties across Australia, including in Perth.[6]

Suspect[edit]

Raina Mersane Ina Thaiday, also called Mersane Warria, was the mother of seven of the children and also the aunt of the eighth. Following the killings, she was hospitalised for self-inflicted[7] wounds from the incident.

Thaiday is alleged to have said to her eldest son "I've killed them" when he visited the house at around 11:00 a.m.[8] Police believe Thaiday drugged the children before the attack took place, as no one reported that they heard the victims during the attack. However, no drugs were found at the crime scene.[8]

On 21 December 2014, she was charged with eight counts of murder.[9][8][10] Prior to Christmas, Thaiday was moved to a mental health facility in Brisbane, with a preliminary hearing to occur in Cairns on 30 January 2015.[11] In April 2017, Queensland's Mental Health Court ruled that Thaiday was of "unsound mind" at the time of the killings, and thus (under Queensland law) not criminally responsible.[12] As of May 2017, she is being held for treatment at The Park Centre for Mental Health.[13]

Reactions[edit]

Tony Abbott, then Prime Minister of Australia, described the event as an "unspeakable crime."[14] Queensland Premier Campbell Newman expressed his sadness and shock about the incident, adding "I ask that all Queenslanders reach out to those who may need support in coming days and do not hesitate to ask for professional assistance if needed".[15] Cairns Region Mayor Bob Manning asked the "people of Cairns to unite and display sympathy for those directly affected by this incident and respect for the police and other authorities who now must go about this difficult work."[16] The Torres Strait Island Regional Council requested respect for privacy and cultural responsibilities, adding it was inappropriate to comment due to "strict cultural protocols".[17]

The children's funeral was held on 10 January 2015 at Cairns Convention Centre.[5][18][19] The house was removed. Eight frangipani trees were planted on the site as a memorial.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cairns stabbings: Family of eight killed children visit memorial, attend church services". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 21 December 2014. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Helsel, Phil. "Eight Children Found Dead at Home in Cairns, Australia". NBC News. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Stabbings in Cairns, Australia leave 8 children dead, woman injured". CBC News. Associated Press. 18 December 2014. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Woman heard screaming for forgiveness before child massacre". The Courier Mail. 
  5. ^ a b "Public funeral for Cairns kids on Saturday". Yahoo!7 News. 6 January 2015. Archived from the original on 10 January 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Peter Michael; Greg Stolz; Damon Guppy (22 December 2014). "Cairns child massacre accused found God, denounced technology". The Courier-Mail. News Limited. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Cairns stabbings: Family of eight killed children visit memorial, attend church services". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 21 December 2014. Archived from the original on 28 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c Jamie Walker; Sarah Elks (27 December 2014). "Cairns deaths: A 'good mum' who concealed her demons". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  9. ^ "Cairns woman charged with murder of eight children: Bodies found in Manoora house". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 21 December 2014. Archived from the original on 21 December 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Cameron Atfield (21 December 2014). "Family of Mersane Warria, mother in Cairns stabbing, speak out". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Grace Uhr (30 December 2014). "Funeral plans confirmed for eight young victims of Cairns massacre". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 2 January 2015. 
  12. ^ "Thaiday, Re [2017] QMHC 1 (6 April 2017)". Australian Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 16 July 2017. 
  13. ^ Kristian Silva (4 May 2017). "Cairns mother Raina Thaiday of unsound mind when she killed eight children, court rules". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 4 May 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2017. 
  14. ^ "Cairns deaths: Eight children found in Australian home". BBC. 19 December 2014. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  15. ^ "Cairns stabbing: Kids dead—was charged children dead". News Limited. 19 December 2014. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  16. ^ "Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning issues statement on Manoora tragedy". 19 December 2014. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  17. ^ "Torres Strait Island Regional Council request cultural protocols in Cairns tragedy". National Indigenous Television. 20 December 2014. Archived from the original on 25 December 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2014. 
  18. ^ "Funeral plans confirmed for eight young victims of Cairns massacre". The Courier Mail. 30 December 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "WARRIA, THAIDAY, WILLIE". tributes.couriermail.com.au. Archived from the original on 3 January 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  20. ^ Michael, Peter (18 December 2015). "Cairns child massacre victims to be honoured on anniversary of their death with tree planting". Courier Mail. Retrieved 28 December 2015.