PERTH: A 24-year-old man has been accused of killing his wife, three toddlers and mother-in-law with a blunt instrument and knives at their suburban family home, where he remained for several days before turning himself in, Australian police said on Monday (Sep 10).
Police charged Anthony Robert Harvey with the murders of his two-year-old twins Alice and Beatrix, his three-year-old daughter Charlotte and his 41-year-old wife Mara in the southwestern city of Perth.
Harvey, who lived in the home, is also alleged to have killed his mother-in-law Beverly Quinn, 73, at the same address the next day.
Western Australia Police Commissioner Chris Dawson told reporters no firearms were used in the attacks which police believe were carried out with several weapons including "a blunt instrument and knives."
Police found the bodies of the victims at an unassuming detached family home near the southwestern city of Perth on Sunday.
Harvey walked into a police station in a remote mining area some 1,500km north of the city on Sunday - a week after their deaths.
He is believed to have remained at the house for "some days" before heading north.
He was due to appear in court via video link later Monday.
A Facebook profile believed to be Mara Quinn's showed her cradling a newborn in her arms, with a man beside her, and stated that she was engaged in August 2014.
A real estate listing showed a modest three-bedroom house and a standalone garage.
"She was pretty unlucky in love before she met him," a friend told Fairfax Media. "So (when they got together) it was like 'yay, now she gets to start a family'."
A neighbour told national broadcaster ABC he had returned from a holiday to "silence in the street".
"We noticed that the house next door was pretty quiet, which was unusual, being that they had the young kids," Richard Fairbrother, who lives next door to the family's house, said.
"We had some friends staying here who have also mentioned that they didn't see or hear anybody next door for the week that we were away ... we could hear and see the kids playing in the backyard quite often."
Other neighbours spoke of a community that was close, calm and peaceful.
Mass killings are rare in Australia, but this appears to be the third such family tragedy to hit Western Australia state in recent months.
In July a man allegedly killed his mother and two siblings. A grandfather shot dead his wife, daughter and her four children in murder-suicide in May.