WHY MEN Kll THEIR FAMILIES FAMILI
AUSTRALIA HAS A TRAGIC AND BLOODIED HISTORY OF FAMILICIDE
Familicide is a particularly heinous brand of crime where a person kills their family in a murder or a murder-suicide. Research shows it’s often men who commit these killings, and often following a history of domestic violence, depression and the fear their partner is going to leave them.
“There isn’t one type of person who kills his family,” Dr Katherine Ramsland, professor of forensic psychology and criminal justice at Desales University, told A&E Real Crime blog. “In general, these men are fragile and unable to cope with humiliation. They’re unable to make appropriate decisions when burdened by anxiety, rage or depression.
“Men in our culture are trained to believe they’re [the] breadwinners. They’re considered the primary caretaker in terms of making sure their children have resources and enough to eat, so when they fail at that, that’s a humiliating blow to their ego.
“[Typically] men don’t [handle] humiliation [well], and for some who don’t want their family to know they’ve failed, the answer is to kill themselves and eliminate everyone else,” Dr Ramsland added.
Here are some of Australia’s most brutal and tragic cases.
In September 2018, Perth father Anthony Robert Harvey murdered his wife Mara, 41, their three daughters – Charlotte, 3, and 2-year-old twins Alice and Beatrix – and Mara’s mother, 73-year-old Beverley Quinn.
When Mara returned to their Bedford home after work, Harvey hit her in the head with a pipe before stabbing her repeatedly. The three girls, who were fast asleep in their beds, were also stabbed, with Charlotte receiving 38 wounds. When Mara’s mother, Beverley,
visited the next morning, she was killed in the same manner.
In a bizarre twist, the bodies were covered by doonas with flowers placed on top, while Mara’s body was positioned as if she were cuddling her daughters. A handwritten note from Harvey was found, where he said he loved his family and was sorry.
Five days after their murders, Harvey cleared his family’s bank accounts and drove to his parents’ house, where he confessed the crime to his father.
“I’ve done something really wrong,” he said. “I’ve hurt them. I’ve hurt all of them.”
Harvey’s journals were also uncovered, revealing details of his morbid plan to “make [his] family disappear”.
“I must embrace my darkness and the unthinkable,” he wrote. “I am no psycho, I feel too much, I care too much.”
It was later found that 11 days before committing the murders, Harvey purchased two knives, one of which was almost the size of a machete. In court hearings, psychological assessments suggested Harvey exhibited symptoms of high-functioning autism and lacked the ability to feel empathy.
Harvey was sentenced to life in prison, never to be released.