Relatives of Port Lincoln man Damien Little have visited the spot where he took his own life and the lives of his two small boys as details of his battle with mental illness emerged.
Early on Monday, Mr Little drove his car off the main wharf in the Eyre Peninsula town and into 30 metres of water, killing himself and his two sons, 10-month-old Hunter and Koda, four.
His family has now revealed the 34-year-old had suffered with mental health issues for the past three years.
“We had noticed a change,” his mother Sue told the Adelaide Advertiser.
“We tried to help him, we all did. But you can’t help somebody who can’t help himself.”
The revelations of Mr Little’s troubled life came as others who knew him said he was respected and well-liked.
“It’s just a shocking thing to have happen out of the blue and for no reason that we knew of,” Wheatsheaf Hotel owner Peter Watherston said on Tuesday.
“He and his brother used to pop out for a beer.”
South Australian Commissioner for Victims’ Rights, Michael O’Connell, said the heart-wrenching incident had caused anguish for the family and friends.
But he also urged people not to rush to blame Mr Little, even those who might find murder by a parent to be among the “cruellest of tragedies”.
“We do not know the reasons Damien did what he appears to have done and speculating helps neither the family nor the people of Port Lincoln,” he said.
As well as tributes on social media, locals have created a makeshift memorial of flowers, teddy bears and other items along the edge of the wharf.
In writing on a football jumper one mourner wrote “RIP Little Legends”.
Mr Little’s parents and other relatives visited the site on Tuesday as police released two family photos which appeared to show a happy couple and their children.
In one, Mr Little and his wife Melissa are sitting on a beach with their two smiling young boys resting in their laps.