Outpouring of grief over Cairns child deaths

TEARS cascaded upon a burgeoning carpet of flowers as mourners laid bouquets in tribute outside the home where eight children were apparently stabbed to death by a mother in the northern Australian city of Cairns last week.

A woman cries after leaving flowers at the house. Picture: Getty

It emerged yesterday five men had fathered children with Queensland murder suspect Mersane Warria and were being counselled by family support officers.

The family of Warria’s 14-year-old niece, who was one of the dead, was also being­ ­given support.

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The other victims were ­Warria’s daughters, aged two, 11 and 12, and her sons, aged five, six, eight and nine.

The close Aborigine community in the suburbs of Manoora was still trying to come to terms with the tragedy yesterday.

Detectives, some of whom have been offered counselling after entering the house and discovering the bodies, said Warria was conscious in hospital. She is being treated for stab wounds.

Warria had been undergoing mental health assessments and was being questioned by senior officers about exactly what went on in her home. She was formally arrested in connection with the murders late on Friday.

Senior Queensland police confirmed murder charges were being considered dependent upon the evidence gathered and what medical reports said.

Forensic teams continued to gather evidence at the scene. Results of autopsies are expected this week.

Superintendent Russell Miller said: “It’s going to be a very complex investigation, it’s going to take time. I’m sure at the end of the day we’ll get the answers people need.”