News State QLD News Claims Cairns mum was ‘on ice’ at time of killings
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Claims Cairns mum was ‘on ice’ at time of killings

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There has been emotional scenes in Cairns this morning as family members attend a memorial near the home where eight children were killed on Friday.

A large group of men and women, many sobbing and wailing, walked down Murray Street in the suburb of Manoora toward the makeshift shrine created by local residents.

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Family members placed flowers at the memorial and consoled each other.

A large team of detectives will return today to the scene of one of the worst murder cases in Australia.

Two days after eight children were killed in a Cairns home, Queensland police are still trying to figure out how and why it happened.

Investigators believe the lives of four girls and four boys, aged between two and 14, were taken sometime between Thursday and Friday morning.

Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said the 37-year-old mother of all but one of the children was being treated for self-inflicted knife wounds and investigators would remain at the home for several more days.

He said Mersane Warria had now been formally interviewed but not yet charged, although he expected that to happen later today.

“We’ve achieved a lot overnight, we’re very happy with how it’s going and I would expect that we’re probably not too far-off getting to that point (laying charges),” he told reporters this morning.

He said evidence was still being gathered and up to 100 people had been interviewed by police.

He said autopsies were being carried out to determine the exact cause of death of each of the children.

“The pathologist is conducting autopsies now and results of those will be brought forward in the next couple of days,” he said.

Ms Warria was arrested by police yesterday over the deaths of seven of her children and a niece.

Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls was in Cairns on Saturday offering support from the Government, but would not be drawn on speculation the mother was being investigated by child services.

“I am not in a position to be able to speculate on those matters. That will no doubt be something that will be explored by police in the days ahead,” he said.

Mr Nicholls said he could not confirm reports the mother was reported to child services two weeks ago.

“That is something I haven’t heard about and again I think that is something police will need to investigate,” he said.

The families of the eight children who were killed have arrived in Cairns to begin a traditional mourning period ahead of their funerals.

The five fathers of the children are grieving after police confirmed yesterday afternoon they had been notified of their deaths.

In Brisbane, the Torres Strait Island community is holding a memorial service at Inala today.

Pastor Daniel Tapau said anyone was welcome to attend the services.

“Today we will remember the eight young victims dearly, especially in this Christmas season and many of our elders will attend the service today from all regions from the Torres Strait,” he said.

Other church services are being held in Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton.

Readers seeking support can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. Website: www.lifeline.org.au