A teenage girl tried desperately to protect her mother during an horrific stabbing that has left two women dead and stunned a Cairns community still reeling from the killings of eight children more than a year ago.
A 43-year-old man has been charged with the murder of his wife and mother-in-law in the suburb of Gordonvale on Monday afternoon.
His 17-year-old daughter also suffered minor wounds to her face and his 72-year-old father-in-law is being treated in hospital for serious injuries.
Detective Superintendent Ray Rohweder told media on Tuesday the teenager was hurt trying to stop the attack.
“At this stage we certainly believe the younger female was trying to assist her mother,” he said.
“It’s horrific, it really is. The emergency service workers … turned up there yesterday afternoon … to what can only be described as a horrific blood-soaked scene.”
Det Sup Rohweder said the family was in shock.
“I mean we have children without a mother and grandmother, we have a grandfather without a wife and daughter – so it’s just a terrible, terrible situation,” he said.
He stressed investigators were still trying to piece together what happened but said it appeared the man had been drinking at home when an argument erupted between him and his wife.
The 43-year-old woman, who also has another young daughter who wasn’t at the house, was stabbed in the family home and her 66-year-old mother was attacked in the yard of a property across the street.
Both were pronounced dead after emergency services arrived following triple zero calls by distressed neighbours.
Resident Reece Coutts told News Corp he saw a knife and pool of blood on a driveway opposite his home.
“It wasn’t pretty at all. A man was on the ground laughing while police were talking to him,” he said.
Det Sup Rohweder described it as a “terrible domestic incident”.
He made a passionate plea to anyone who believed they were in danger or anyone who believed they could harm others to seek help immediately.
There were often cultural reasons as to why victims didn’t come forward, he said.
The family is from overseas but Det Sup Rohweder wouldn’t say which country or how long they had lived in Australia.
The scene emergency services arrived to on Monday afternoon would stay with them forever and had brought back memories of the Murray Street tragedy where eight children were found dead in December 2014.
“For the people of Cairns, for those emergency service workers, Murray St wasn’t that long ago … so really, it’s terrible,” Det Sup Rohweder said.
The man is expected to appear in Cairns Magistrates Court on Wednesday, to face two counts of murder and one each of attempted murder, wounding and wilful damage.