Grandad the killer

‘ Good bloke’ shot wife, daugh­ter and her four kids then him­self

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

AS re­cently as Wed­nes­day, Peter John Miles had been look­ing for work on Gumtree.

“I am seek­ing work in the vine­yard, farm or small farm ar­eas. I have over 30 years farm­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and over 12 years vine­yard ex­pe­ri­ence,” the 61-year-old posted on the clas­si­fieds web­site un­der the head­ing “Seek­ing Vine­yard and Farm work”.

“I have ex­ten­sive handy­man abil­i­ties and ex­pe­ri­ence with a wide va­ri­ety of farm equip­ment, can re­pair fences, and tidy up the prop­erty from storm dam­age. I en­joy a va­ri­ety of jobs and will­ing to do one off small jobs as well as your larger con­tracts. I have lived in the Mar­garet River area all my life and wel­come all in­quiries.”

About 6am on Fri­day, Sergeant Brett Cas­sidy and Se­nior Con­sta­ble Ian Southall were con­fronted by the hor­rific sight of the grand­fa­ther’s body slumped in a chair on his ve­randa. He was dressed in black track­suit pants, a dark top and light brown Ug­gies. A ri­fle rested be­tween his legs and a yel­low torch sat on a nearby ta­ble.

In­side the four-bed­room house they found the body of Miles’ wife Cynda, 58, the vi­va­cious, pop­u­lar grand­mother who was known through­out the close-knit Mar­garet River com­mu­nity.

But it got worse. When they walked into the sep­a­rate liv­ing quar­ters at the back of the main house they found Miles’ 35-year-old daugh­ter Ka­t­rina, or Kat as she was known to the many peo­ple who loved her, and her four chil­dren Taye, 13, Ry­lan, 12, Ayre, 10, and Ka­dyn, 8.

Ear­lier, at about 5.15am, a man at the pretty 11-hectare hobby farm in Os­ming­ton had di­alled triple-0.

Po­lice have not con­firmed who made the call but the an­swers to what is the worst mass shoot­ing in Aus­tralia since the Port Arthur mas­sacre are likely con­tained in that two-minute record­ing.

Within hours, foren­sic of­fi­cers, homi­cide de­tec­tives, Bun­bury de­tec­tives and var­i­ous spe­cial­ist po­lice units from Perth had con­verged on the prop­erty 20km east of Mar­garet River, cor­don­ing off the grow­ing num­ber of me­dia who sat 500m away at the top of a hill over­look­ing the prop­erty.

While the Po­lice Com­mis­sioner yes­ter­day re­fused to be drawn on any spe­cific de­tails of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, he all but ruled out any out­side in­volve­ment in the mas­sacre. In other words, homi­cide de­tec­tives were now treat­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion as a mass mur­der and sui­cide car­ried out by Peter Miles.

But the big­gest puz­zle is, as is so of­ten the case, mo­tive. Why would Miles mur­der his fam­ily — par­tic­u­larly his grand­kids who by all ac­counts he adored?

In­quiries will now be launched into the fi­nan­cial state of Miles’ af­fairs and those of his wife.

To ev­ery­one who knew him, Miles was a farm labourer and odd-job man, well­liked but not overly pop­u­lar, with a small but seem­ingly well-pa­tro­n­ised busi­ness among the many hobby farms in the re­gion.

As a for­mer agri­cul­ture teacher at Mar­garet River High School, and a for­mer state pres­i­dent of Apex, Miles was re­spected and known as a “down to earth bloke”

But he and Cynda had had their fair share of knocks over the years. As one of their friends said; “they have known tragedy and were deal­ing with tragedy”.

Their first son, Shawn, sui­cided about 15 years ago and an­other son is bat­tling ill­ness.

Peter Miles (sec­ond from left at back) and his sus­pected vic­tims: daugh­ter Ka­t­rina Miles (in red), her four chil­dren and his wife Cynda.

A po­lice foren­sics of­fi­cer at the farm­house yes­ter­day.

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